Senzatela 'worried' about tight right shoulder

Rockies right-hander exits after just two tough innings in his start vs. D-backs

July 2nd, 2022

DENVER – Baseball’s day-to-day nature leads its players to take the posture that nothing is all that worrisome. But that fades away when a new threat happens, and Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela isn’t afraid to say he is worried.

From his pregame catch to his two ineffective innings of Colorado’s 9-3 loss to the D-backs on Friday night at Coors Field, Senzatela felt tightness in his right shoulder. He started his night by giving up a Josh Rojas double, followed by an Alek Thomas triple. In Senzatela's second and final inning, Carson Kelly crushed a 92 mph fastball over the center-field wall for a solo homer.

Senzatela, who entered the series opener 3-1 with a 3.52 ERA in eight home starts, tried stretching his arm in the dugout during the top of the third. But manager Bud Black and the training staff called it quits for him.

Black said the right-hander will be examined on Saturday, and the hope is the injury is not serious.

“I was feeling my shoulder -- it felt super-tight,” Senzatela said. “As soon as I threw the first pitch warming up before the game, it felt really tight, really tough, like something’s not normal. I just played catch and everything, thinking it’s going to be normal. But it never went away.

“It was still there. After every pitch, it bothered me a lot.”

Senzatela’s injury means the past two games have injected some unknowns into a pitching staff that the Rockies need to lead them out of their hole. The club hopes Germán Márquez recovers quickly from a small cut on his right thumb, which robbed him of fastball control in Wednesday night’s loss to the Dodgers.

Friday was the start of 17 games in as many days. It certainly would have been nice to have Senzatela, since the D-backs had Merrill Kelly. In his second solid start against the Rockies this season, Kelly yielded two runs (one earned) on five hits -- including Ryan McMahon’s solo homer in the seventh -- and one walk while inducing 12 groundouts.

The fact that Senzatela couldn’t loosen his shoulder can be seen as troublesome, but Black has seen a lot of pitchers go through many ailments that corrected themselves.

“In the second inning, our medical staff seemed to think there was some inflammation in his shoulder,” Black said. “There was some tightness, so tomorrow we’ll know a little bit more -- see how it is 24 hours later.”

Sounds like a plan, but this is new to Senzatela, who said an MRI exam is possible.

His injury history shows he was previously shelved with right shoulder inflammation, but that was late in the 2018 season, when the Rockies were being careful with their young staff’s innings count. Senzatela pitched in a postseason game that year. Beyond that, his most prominent injuries were blisters -- one on a finger, and another on his right heel that became infected and cost him more time than expected.

“I’m worried because this has never happened to me,” Senzatela said. “I got scared a little bit. They said it’s nothing bad. Hopefully, it’s not bad. Hopefully, I’ll be better tomorrow and be ready for my next start.”