Rodgers' season in jeopardy; Gilbreath likely to have Tommy John

March 2nd, 2023

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Multiple MRIs of Rockies second baseman ’ dislocated left shoulder revealed more damage than originally anticipated, and surgery -- which could threaten his 2023 season -- is possible, manager Bud Black said Thursday.

Additionally, left-handed relief pitcher , whose solid 2022 season was cut short because of an injury near his elbow that required a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection, said Thursday that he is likely to undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the season.

This means two players who were expected to be keys to the Rockies' roster are likely to be missing.

After winning his first Gold Glove Award last season, Rodgers, 26, was keen to achieve offensive consistency and take his career to a higher level. But he sustained an injury while diving for a grounder during Tuesday’s game at Surprise, Ariz., against the Rangers. Black said doctors have looked at the MRIs and at least one other opinion is being sought, but “there’s trauma to the capsule into the joint and all the surrounding tissues that keep the shoulder intact and secure.”

Last season, Rodgers struggled for the first month but was outstanding in the middle of the season, finishing with a .266/.325/.408 slash line, 13 home runs and 63 RBIs. Rodgers had 15 homers in 2021. His first-round pedigree (third overall pick in 2015) and the way he swung when hot last year all pointed toward a big 2023 season.

“That’s the frustrating thing for Brendan and for us, because we’ve talked about his place on this team and where he is in his career,” Black said. “I was going to quit referring to him as a young player. This is now his time. This setback is a tough one because I really do think that he was ready for a big year.”

Alan Trejo, who bounced between Triple-A and the Majors last year while filling a utility role, and non-roster candidates Harold Castro and Cole Tucker are candidates for starts and playing time at second base. Also, Ryan McMahon, a two-time Gold Glove finalist at third base, has significant time at second in the Majors. The Rockies have also been testing non-roster player Coco Montes, who has put up strong on-base numbers in the Minors and could be part of the depth picture.

Black also said general manager Bill Schmidt could potentially acquire experience at the position.

Gilbreath, who turns 27 on Sunday and played in the Denver area at Legacy High School in Broomfield before the University of Minnesota, broke in as a reliever in 2021 (3-2, 3.38 ERA in 47 appearances). He followed that up last season by going 2-0 with a 4.19 ERA in 47 games. After beginning the season on the COVID-19 injured list and struggling early, Gilbreath became the team’s most dependable reliever from the left side until his elbow began hurting.

Through offseason and early part of Spring Training, Gilbreath had no setbacks. But concerningly, he experienced pain during his second live batting practice session. Gilbreath said he’s hoping for unexpected good news as doctors continue to examine him, but he expects to have the surgery within the next couple of weeks.

“It always stings,” Gilbreath said. “It’s part of the job. As unfortunate as it is to say, it’s happens. Nobody wants to miss game time and nobody wants to miss part of the season, especially when all you do is work your butt off to play baseball.”

Gilbreath is the second bullpen member to sustain an injury this spring. Righty Jake Bird (oblique strain) has begun playing light catch, but he is doubtful to be ready to start the season.

The Rockies shored up the left-handed side of their bullpen by claiming Brent Suter off waivers from the Brewers; they also picked up veteran non-roster candidates Fernando Abad, Luke Allen, Ty Blach and Josh Rogers. Non-roster veteran Matt Koch and younger relievers on the roster such as Gavin Hollowell and Nick Mears also have greater possibilities of bullpen work.