Rockies’ face rotation decision: Austin Gomber or Ryan Feltner?

MINNEAPOLIS — Another change might be in the works for the Rockies’ starting rotation.

Rookie right-hander Ryan Feltner, who struggled Sunday in a 6-3 loss to the Twins, might be replaced in the rotation by lefty Austin Gomber, who’s struggled in his two appearances since being relegated to the bullpen.

The decision could be made in time for next weekend’s series against Arizona at Coors Field.

“This is a temporary thing,” manager Bud Black said about Gomber’s recent stint in the bullpen. “This is more about giving him a little bit of a break and allowing him to take a step back.”

Black said he liked the way Feltner had been pitching, and he also liked how Feltner matched up against the Marlins and Twins on the just-completed road trip. Feltner, however, gave up five runs on eight hits in four innings Sunday.

“The (Twins) had a good approach and were relatively patient, as evidenced by (Feltner’s) 35-pitch first inning,” Black said. “Ryan really couldn’t get his breaking ball going — curveball or slider. He was ineffective with those two pitches and the fastball command was a little spotty. The ball was in the middle of the plate and they drove them in the first couple of innings.”

Gomber, who gave up a run on two hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings Sunday, has a 6.55 ERA. Last year, he was 9-9 with a 4.53 ERA that included excellent numbers at Coors Field (5-1, 2.09 ERA in nine starts).

Gomber said he’s been frustrated by his demotion to the bullpen, but he understands why the move was made.

“Over the past three weeks or past month, I haven’t been pitching up to my capability,” Gomber said. “It’s frustrating for myself and for the team. I felt like the starting rotation was going to be a strength for our team and I was a part of that.”

So what’s the difference between Gomber this season vs. last season?

“I don’t think there is a drastic difference and it’s not just one thing,” Black said. “It’s just a collection of things. Probably pitch-making at certain times. His stuff is the same — velocity, the action to his pitching.

“The only real difference, probably, is that the slider is a big pitch for him and that seemed to leave him for a number of his starts. That pitch wasn’t at the top of his game.”

Bryant’s return. Left fielder Kris Bryant, who’s missed 44 games because of a lower-back injury that’s required two stints on the injured list, is scheduled to rejoin the Rockies on Monday in Denver. Black said that Bryant, who’s finished his rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque, will be evaluated by the team on Monday. There is a chance that Bryant will be in the starting lineup for Monday night’s game against the Dodgers.

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