Colorado Rockies' Kyle Freeland does a TV interview after pitching during a spring training baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

Kyle Freeland made his first start for the Colorado Rockies since returning from the World Baseball Classic, where he pitched three innings for Team USA in the championship-game loss to Japan.

The left-hander allowed one run in the finale last Tuesday and struck out tournament MVP Shohei Ohtani. Freeland’s 41 pitches were the most of any hurler who appeared in the title game.

Freeland went 3 1/3 innings Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds. He gave up four runs and eight hits but was hurt by his defense.

“Working through some traffic trying to get the ball on the ground was nice. No one is ever going to have clean innings every time. It built my pitch count up, which I needed to do because I’m a little behind,” Freeland said. “My aim was 70-75. I was right around that.”

Freeland was 9-11 with a 4.53 ERA in 31 starts for Colorado last season. He was curious how the first outing back with the new pitch clock would go.

“It was an easy transition,” Freeland said.

He is scheduled to start the second game of the season in San Diego.

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