Posted on June 20, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
As they fight to reach the postseason for the third straight season, the Colorado Rockies have been dealt a significant blow. On Thursday, the club placed shortstop Trevor Story on the 10-day Injured List with a thumb injury. Story underwent an MRI on Thursday and is set to see a hand specialist. However, the Rockies didn’t announce any kind of timeline for his return, but initial reports indicate he’ll miss at least a few weeks.
Story hurt his right thumb while sliding headfirst into second base during Wednesday’s game against the Diamondbacks. After leaving the game, Story underwent X-rays that were negative. However, the team is worried about ligament damage. Rockies manager Bud Black described the injury as a “sprain” and told reporters that the team doctor indicated that it was not an injury that would clear up within a few days, prompting the club to put Story on the IL.
“I’m not sure exactly how it happened, because I wasn’t really looking at it. I just know it didn’t feel very good,” Story said after Wednesday’s game. “I’m always nervous if you have to get an MRI. Just because you never know, you know?”
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Obviously, the Rockies are hoping that Story’s injury won’t keep him out for more than a couple of weeks. However, he missed the last two months of the 2016 season after tearing a ligament in his left thumb. A similar timeline this time around would be a huge blow for the Rockies. Story is currently hitting .294 with an OPS of .907. His 17 home runs and 48 RBIs are the most by any National League shortstop. Along with Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado, he’s helped to carry Colorado’s lineup this season.
The Rockies have called up top-prospect Brandan Rodgers to take Story’s spot on the roster. Rodgers hit .246 with a disappointing .577 OPS in 21 games earlier this season in his first big league action. Despite some struggles during that stint, Rodgers was crushing it at triple-A, hitting .350 with an OPS of 1.035.
Utility man Pat Valaika is also an option at shortstop for the Rockies. However, he has just two hits in 30 at-bats this season. Valaika’s struggles likely mean that Rodgers will play virtually every day at shortstop as long as Story is out. If Story’s injury turns into a long-term issue, it means the Rockies will be asking a lot of the rookie.
“He’s playing at the highest level, and I think he understands now, from Spring Training and the time he was with us, that this game’s different,” Black said of Rodgers. “It’s a little faster, it’s more intensive and there’s a learning curve to everyday baseball here.”
If Story returns by the all-star break, the Rockies should be able to survive without him for the short-term. But getting by without him for a month or two would be far more challenging. The Rockies are already 10 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West, so the Wild Card is their only chance at reaching the playoffs. Colorado is currently tied with Philadelphia for the second Wild Card spot, with three other teams within two games. In the event Story misses significant time, it could make the difference in the Rockies missing out on the postseason.