Brendan Rodgers and his strained right hamstring have the Colorado Rockies searching for a second option at second base.
With Rodgers sidelined at least a month, the Rockies may need to shuffle around the infield. The plan could be to move Ryan McMahon from third base to second and Josh Fuentes across the diamond from first to third. There’s always the less complicated option of inserting either Chris Owings or Garrett Hampson at second.
One thing’s for sure: The versatility of the Rockies is already being tested.
”We’re not in a bind,” Rockies manager Bud Black said Friday morning. ”It’s so advantageous to have those types of players who can bounce around because of cases like this, when maybe you lose a player.”
Rodgers was having a productive spring, hitting .348 with two homers and five RBIs, before hurting his hamstring last weekend while trying to steal second base. He was steadily progressing when recent tests revealed ”the trauma to the hamstring, a little bit worse than was originally anticipated,” Black explained.
Another setback for Rodgers, the third overall pick by Colorado in the 2015 first-year player draft.
”He was bummed,” said Black, whose team opens the season at Coors Field against the world champion Los Angeles Dodgers on April 1. ”He really felt as though this year could be a year for him to really come out and show the talent that he has. He was really excited for that opportunity in a lot of ways.”
Last season, the 24-year-old Rodgers appeared in seven games – two hits in 21 at-bats – before landing on the injured list with a right shoulder injury.
”His frame of mind is such now that, hey, it’s reality. Let’s get to work on rehab, let’s get it back to full strength and go from there,” Black said. ”There’s nothing better than the start of a major league season, potentially being on an opening day roster and maybe potentially starting opening day.
”But every player’s path is different to becoming a big leaguer. There’s a lot of hurdles and roadblocks for some guys along the way. This is one of those for Brendan.”
The Rockies will take things slow with Rodgers. He will play catch and then start hitting again in about a week.
”The true test will be when he’s moving, he’s running, he’s moving on defense, all those things,” Black said. ”That’s probably weeks away, from that higher-activity workout. We’re going to watch this one closely. We’re going to monitor it.”
About the only certainty in the infield right now is at shortstop with Trevor Story.
McMahon spent quite a bit of time at second base for the Rockies last season. But with Nolan Arenado being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, McMahon was moved to third.
”Like we’ve said all along, we like the versatility of our group,” Black said.
NOTES: Left-hander Kyle Freeland tossed five simulated innings Thursday. ”Threw the ball great, by the way,” Black said. … No surprise, Black, a 1992 inductee into the San Diego State University Hall of Fame, picked the Aztecs to make a deep run in his NCAA Tournament bracket. He has Gonzaga winning the title in one of his pools. … Asked if 1B Greg Bird was still in the running to make the team, Black said: ”We’re looking at a lot of different options for sure.”
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