Rockies’ Justin Lawrence rebounds from blown save with first MLB win – The Denver Post
Rookie Justin Lawrence ran the gamut of relief pitching emotions last weekend for the Rockies.
Friday: His first blown save — a two-walk, one-hit, one-run ninth inning — in a 9-3 loss vs. the Cardinals.
Sunday: His first win — a scoreless ninth — to seal a 3-1 series victory against St. Louis.
“To have those two opportunities in such a short span, so early in my career, it’s definitely a boost of confidence that I can handle that position,” Lawrence told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s game at the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The 26-year-old Panama native has turned heads this year with his unconventional righty sidearm throwing motion and velocity that often touches 100 mph. Lawrence is finally getting a chance to put both on display for Colorado.
Before the 2020 season, he was given an 80-game suspension for taking DHCMT — a substance banned by Major League Baseball — that Lawrence said he mistakenly ingested with an NSF-certified supplement.
He later told The Post: “I wouldn’t wish what I had to go through on my worst enemy.”
It appears the mental toughness he developed as a result came in handy against the Cardinals. Lawrence said manager Bud Black approached him after Friday’s blown save with sage advice — “This isn’t the last time you’re going to get this opportunity” — and Lawrence capitalized just 48 hours later.
“At no point in time did I feel overwhelmed by the moment,” Lawrence said. “Fireworks. Friday night. Denver at home. 47,000 people. Throughout that inning, I didn’t feel like I was out of place. … I didn’t get the result I wanted, but it was a big confidence boost for me knowing that I can go in that situation and perform.”
No moving Marquez. The Rockies’ potential selloff of talent before the trade deadline will not include starting pitcher German Marquez, Black said Tuesday on MLB Network Radio.
“He’s on a multi-year deal, so we have him a couple more years. … He’s not going anywhere,” Black said. “Even though it might be out there — there might be some noise — we let our guys know, these guys aren’t going to be traded. That’s how our owner (Dick Monfort) feels. That’s how so many people in our organization who are the decision-makers feel about German — and a few other guys, too.”
Givens returns. Injured Rockies’ pitcher Mychal Givens (lower-back strain) was reinstated from the 10-day injured list Tuesday. The right-hander last appeared for Colorado back on June 15. Givens had been the team’s most effective reliever with scoreless outings in seven consecutive games and a 2.78 ERA.
“We don’t know how this game (Tuesday) is going to play out, but we could ease him back in certain situations to get him back in the mix and get his feet back on the ground,” Black said. “It’s good to get him back.”
In a corresponding move, the Rockies optioned southpaw Ben Bowden to Triple-A Albuquerque.
All-Star Buddy. National League manager Dave Roberts invited Black to serve as an honorary coach on the NL staff in next week’s All-Star Game, the league announced Tuesday. It marks the fourth time Black has joined the All-Star coaching staff during his career — 2008 under Clint Hurdle (Rockies), 2010 under Charlie Manuel (Angels) and 2018 under Roberts (Dodgers).
“I’m excited and grateful again to be asked by Dave. We go way back,” Black said. “I’m more excited because it’s in Denver in front of our home fans in our own ballpark. I think Denver is ready to really represent Colorado, the city itself and our fans. It’s going to be fun.”
The Rockies’ Keith Dugger (head athletic trainer) and Gabe Bauer (director of physical performance) will also join the NL staff for the All-Star game. Marquez was the only Colorado player selected.