Down on the Farm: Diaz Looks Recovered, Showing Overpowering Late-Inning Arm

Sponsored by Cinch -- The Shirt that Won the West

When the Rockies shipped shortstop Josh Rutledge to the Angels during December of 2014, they were looking at a late-inning power arm. And that first year in the organization, Jairo Diaz made an impact, appearing in 21 games during a big-league stint with a 2.37 ERA. In 19 innings, he walked only six and struck out 18.

Then, however, began an injury-riddled journey. Not only did he miss the 2016 season with Tommy John surgery, but in 2017 not only did he wind up back on the disabled list with elbow inflamation, but early in the season he went on personal leave to be with his wife, who was suffering from terminal cancer.

In the 2017 and 2018 seasons he appeared in a total of 29 games. Twice he was let go by the Rockies, but both times he re-signed. This year, the groundwork is being laid for a happy-ever-after moment.

Healthy and throwing in the upper 90s again, Dias earned his fifth save in five opportunities at Triple-A Albuquerque on Friday night. He has a 0.50 ERA, allowing one run on 12 hits, a hit batter and five walks in 18 innings. He has struck out 20.

In Friday's Games:

AAA Albuquerque (19-17) won 2-1 at El Paso (D-backs). While Diaz finished it up, Tim Melville made his first start since being acquired from the independent Atlantic League, picking up the victory after allowing one run on three hits and three walks in five innings. He struck out five. Yonathan Diaz (.387) was 1-for-4 with his fourth home run. Sam Hilliard provided the Isotopes other run with a home run in the second. He leads the team with 11 home runs.

AA Hartford (18-17) lost 6-4 against Harrisburg (Nationals). The Yard Goats scored all four of thier runs in the eighth. Vince Fernandez (.282) was 2-for-5 and had a two-run home run in that inning. The Yard Goats also received an eighth-inning RBI from Ryan Metzler (.200), who was 2-for-4, and Chris Rabago (.130) who had a double. Ty Culbreth (3-2, 4.08) allowed five runs on eight hits and a walk, striking out two, in 3 2/ innings.

High A Lancaster (20-15) won 5-4 at Modesto (A's). Ryan Vilade scored on Todd Czinege's ground out in the eighth to break the tie. Czinege (.267) was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI-double in the second as well as the game-winning RBI. Casey Golden (.245) was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI. Nate Harris (1-2, 5.74) allowed two runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings, blowing a save but being credited with the win. Salvador Justo allowed two hits and struck out a batter in 1 1/3 innings for his third save. Matt Dennis (6.90) started and allowed two runs on five hits and a walk, striking out five in six innings.

LOW A Asheville (12-21) won 5-3 at Hickory (Rangers). Terrin Vavra (.306) and Luke Morgan .I(302) scored on an eighth-inning ground out by John Cresto (.278). Derrik Watson, who has yet to allow an earned run in eight appearances, worked 1 1/3 innings for the win.