DENVER – When it rains, it pours. And right now, it’s raining trips to the trainer’s room for the Colorado Rockies since the beginning of April’s showers.
It began with pitchers Antonio Senzatela (blister infection and right heel) and Chris Rusin (mid-back strain) opening the season on the Injured List (IL).
Beginning on April 1, the Rockies suffered the biggest blow when first baseman Daniel Murphy suffered an avulsion fracture of the left index finger, prompting Pat Valaika to get a promotion.
The next night, April 2, Jake McGee left the game in the eighth inning with a left knee strain, paving the way for Carlos Estévez to make his first appearance in purple pinstripes since 2017.
On Friday, an errant throw from Nolan Arenado – of all people – helped cause a collision at first base, knocking down Ryan McMahon and forcing another IL stint; Josh Fuentes got the call and made his major league debut thanks to the friendly 75 mph speed limits along I-25.
On Saturday, Tyler Anderson’s left knee inflammation became too much to ignore any longer and Yency Almonte jumped on a flight set for Colorado.
And on the biggest regular-season stage since July 22, 2001, as part of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, the remaining able-bodied players saw their hottest hitter, David Dahl, exit the game in the third after an injury to his abdomen.
Though Bud Black said nothing is certain at the moment for Dahl and the IL, such an outcome could force the Rockies to dig deeper into their pool of prospects and experienced players at Triple-A.
Which begs the question: who’s next?
If Dahl gets placed on the Injury List, the simplest option is to bring back Noel Cuevas as he plays the same position as Dahl. Cuevas has four hits in his last ten at bats, including a walk-off double on Sunday to help the Isotopes win their third straight.
Sam Hilliard has only a handful of games above Double-A, but his first home run with Albuquerque on Sunday is a good indicator that the 25-year-old has a lot more to give offensively.
Yonathan Daza has a similar resumè as Hilliard and he’s already followed up a solid season with Hartford in 2018 with two multi-hit games in his first four games.
The Rockies could find themselves lucky enough to claim a player that gets placed on waivers and catch lightning in a bottle until McMahon or Murphy recovers, but they certainly won’t – and can’t – be waiting for such an opportunity.
When thinking outside the box, one option is a player not on the 40-man roster but is quite familiar with the organization.
Drew Butera could find himself back in Colorado as the third catcher if Black and Bridich decide to utilize the more versatile players on the roster in a rather specific way: Hampson gets more starts in the outfield allowing Tony Wolters to make a spot start once a week at second base.
And if we’re discussing the possibilities of adding someone not on the 40-man roster and who could inject some life into the offense, then Brendan Rodgers should have his name bandied about.
The 22-year-old infielder struggled to get into a groove during a 19-game stint late in 2018 before going down with a shoulder injury that robbed him of a chance to represent the organization in the Arizona Fall League.
As a longshot for the open second base position, Rodgers played well during this second big league camp and drew the praise of both teammates and the coaching staff.
Through the first five games of his 2019 season, the 2015 1st round selection has a five-game hitting streak, including a double and a homer, with two runs batted in.
No one doubts his potential and it’s only a matter of time before the Rodgers era begins.
Depending on Dahl’s health, day one may be right around the corner.