Nunez was included on the three-man taxi squad that will travel with the team for the first series at the Rangers. Nunez was optioned by the Rockies on Wednesday, but he'll be one of the team's top options to fill an emergency need to begin the regular season. The Rockies have three catchers on their active roster, so his chances of joining the major-league roster could be a bit slim unless injuries occur or the trio struggles.
Nunez was optioned to the Rockies' alternate training site Wednesday. Nunez was on the roster bubble when spring training was suspended, but he'll be left off the team's 30-man roster to begin the season after Drew Butera was awarded the third catcher spot Wednesday. Nunez made his major-league debut in 2019 but struggled over a small sample, hitting just .179/.233/.410 with two home runs and 17 strikeouts over 16 games.
Nunez was on the roster bubble prior to the shutdown, Kyle Newman and Jeff Bailey of The Denver Post report. Tony Wolters' spot as the primary catcher appears to be safe, so Nunez was competing with Elias Diaz and Drew Butera for the backup spot. Nunez is on the 40-man roster while Diaz and Butera are on minor-league deals, but Nunez also has minor-league options remaining, and was outperformed statistically by Diaz and Butera this spring. Nunez said he has been working on his throwing and defensive footwork while lowering his leg kick at the plate. He hit .200 with a home run, six strikeouts and three walks in 15 spring at-bats.
Nunez went 1-for-3 with a solo home run in Sunday's 4-3 win over the Brewers in 13 innings. Nunez's long ball cut the Rockies' deficit to one in the eighth inning before Pat Valaika sent the game to extras in the bottom of the ninth with a run-scoring single. Though his final hit of 2019 was a memorable one, Nunez delivered an underwhelming .179/.233/.410 slash line after joining the big club in mid-August and saw far less action than backstops Tony Wolters and Drew Butera down the stretch.
Nunez went 1-for-4 with a solo home run in Tuesday's 9-3 loss to the Diamondbacks. Nunez became the seventh player in franchise history to slug a home run in his major-league debut after leaving the yard in his final at-bat of the night in the eighth inning. The 24-year-old is out of the lineup for Wednesday's series finale but should fill in for top backstop Tony Wolters a couple times per week after replacing Chris Iannetta as Colorado's No. 2 catcher.