Rockies activate Kris Bryant from IL before series vs. Cubs

After missing 44 games with a fractured finger, Rockies slugger Kris Bryant was activated from the injured list Monday and returned to the lineup just in time to attempt to play spoiler against his former team.

Cole Tucker, who is 4-for-8 with a .600 on-base percentage in five big-league games this season, was designated for assignment in Colorado’s corresponding roster move.

Bryant was batting clean-up in his return, playing first base. Rockies manager Bud Black said Bryant will play some first base, outfield and designated hitter in the remaining weeks of the season. Bryant is unlikely to play every game.

“I think he continued to feel (pain) as time went on. I think he feels it a little bit now,” Black said. “The pain lessens. You get a little bit of flexibility in your finger. You start doing more baseball activities. … The last 10 days, he’s ramped up his hitting. He’s ramped up his defense. He’s kept his legs going the whole time. And I think Kris felt as though he was ready to play in a game. And his thought was, ‘If I’m ready to play in a game, let’s play in a Major League game. Don’t send me to Albuquerque. Put me in a big-league game. We only have three weeks left in the season. I want to play.’”

And if Bryant was going to play in a Major League game, what better timing than a Cubs game? Bryant won a National League Rookie of the Year, an NL MVP and a World Series with Chicago before he signed a seven-year, $182 million deal with Colorado. In 2022, his first season with the Rockies, he only played in 42 games. This year he had played in 65 before the finger injury, entering Monday night’s game at Coors Field with eight home runs and a .717 OPS for 2023.

“He wants to play, so he’ll play a lot,” Black said. “But he’ll get a day here and there, because we want other guys to play as well. … We’ll mix and match it.”

Marquez on contract extension: “This is my home”

Rockies pitcher German Marquez feels relieved to be focused fully on his rehab process now that he has contract negotiations out of the way.

The longtime staple of the Rockies’ rotation agreed to a two-year, $20 million extension while the team was in San Francisco last Friday. Marquez is now under contract through 2025, though he’s out for the rest of this season and likely much of 2024 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May. Marquez told reporters Monday that he hopes to be back after the All-Star break next July.

He started playing catch last week in Arizona.

“Hanging in there, and happy to start playing catch again,” he said.

Marquez has a 4.41 career ERA in 173 starts and more than 1,000 innings, all with the Rockies. His most complete season was 2018, when he struck out 230, won 14 games and posted a 3.77 ERA.

“I do think it sends a great message — most importantly, it’s about the talent — but what’s also important to German is his feelings about this organization and wanting to be here and wanting to be part of the solution,” Black said. It would have been really easy to move on if he wanted to. He wouldn’t want to talk about an extension, he becomes a free agent in three weeks, moves on to another organization or team. He didn’t want to do that. So what does that tell you about what he thinks about this place?”

“As soon as I got here in ’16, I felt like this was my home,” Marquez said. “This is my home. And I want to be part of this process, to see the young guys doing it.”

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