Posted on May 27, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
As the Colorado Rockies struggle to assert themselves as contenders in the National League, they’ll be ending May without the services of Charlie Blackmon. The Rockies added the veteran outfielder to the 10-day Injured List on Monday due to a calf strain. Blackmon has already missed three games with the injury, and he’s now going to miss at least another week.
“It’s been getting better every day,” Blackmon said of the injury. “It feels better today than yesterday and the day before. I thought that would translate a little better out there with my agility work that I was doing, but it’s just not quite there yet.”
The injury is a rare one for Blackmon, who was forced to leave Thursday’s loss to the Pirates when he felt something amiss with his calf. It’s just the second time he’s been on the major league IL since breaking his foot as a rookie in 2011. Obviously, the Rockies held out hope for a fast recovery. But at age 32, Colorado is better off playing it safe rather than risking a setback if Blackmon tries to come back too quickly.
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On the other hand, losing Blackmon for any period of time is a big blow for the Rockies. Once again, he’s teaming up with Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story to form Colorado’s triumvirate. Blackmon is currently hitting .300 with an OPS of .921. Before going on the IL Monday, Blackmon looked poised to make the All-Star Team for the third consecutive season. He’s also served as the team’s leadoff hitter all season, making him that much harder to replace.
The task of replacing Blackmon will fall primarily to Raimel Tapia and David Dahl. Tapia and Dahl have shared playing time in left field this season. However, Dahl figures to play primarily in right field while Blackmon is out while Tapia will have to play virtually every day in left field. Both Tapia and Dahl have been productive this season, but they’ll now have the added pressure of playing every day.
“’Tap’ has been good all year, as far as his approach and how he’s playing the game,” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “He’s had enough exposure to the big leagues where he should be past that and being able to play his game.”
Yonathan Daza, who was called up when Blackmon went on the IL, may also get an opportunity to play. But he figures to be the team’s fourth outfielder and a possible replacement for the struggling Ian Desmond in center field. Daza also went hitless in 11 at-bats during a brief big league stint last month.
As long as Blackmon’s calf strain doesn’t turn into a long-term issue, the Rockies should be able to manage without him for a couple of weeks. However, that doesn’t mean the Rockies don’t want him back as soon as possible. Colorado began Monday three games under .500, a distant fourth in the NL West. While Tapia and Dahl are good supporting players for the Rockies, Blackmon is one of the team’s stars. Given where the Rockies are in the standings right now, they can’t afford to be without one of their stars for very long.