Gray (flexor), Sheffield (lat) placed on IL 

Interim GM Schmidt talks state of the franchise, trade talks

June 6th, 2021

DENVER -- The Rockies placed right-handers and on the 10-day injured list prior to Saturday’s game against the A’s at Coors Field. Gray has a right forearm flexor strain, and Sheffield has a right lat strain. The club also recalled left-handers Ben Bowden and Lucas Gilbreath from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Manager Bud Black said both Gray and Sheffield underwent MRIs. Gray's scan came back "clean," indicating no structural damage. Black also said Gray would accompany the team on its upcoming road trip to Miami and Cincinnati and would probably begin throwing again sometime during the week.

Gray exited his start Friday night against the A’s in the third inning. He was charged with five runs on four hits, including two home runs over 2 1/3 innings.

"Jon, in my conversations with him, he said he feels fine as far as the soreness he felt yesterday," Black said after Saturday's 6-3 loss to Oakland. "[Head trainer] Keith [Dugger] and our doctors are encouraged where this is going to be headed in a positive fashion. We feel good about where Jon is."

Sheffield’s MRI revealed a tear in one of the muscles in the back of his right shoulder, similar to what caused Kyle Freeland to miss nearly the first two months of the season. Black said that he thinks Sheffield may be sidelined longer than Freeland was.

Sheffield’s injury occurred during a pitch in his last outing, which was against the Rangers on Thursday. He pitched the seventh inning, giving up a two-run homer to Khris Davis. Entering that appearance, Sheffield had a 2.45 ERA for Colorado over his first 18 1/3 Major League innings.

“I think Sheff is a little bit more serious than Jon,” Black said. “I don’t know the degree of the tear. … It’s still so early in the evaluation process of Jordan that I don’t think any of us even want to jump to any conclusions as far as a timeline.”

Schmidt talks Story, state of the franchise
Rockies interim general manager Bill Schmidt said prior to Saturday’s game that teams have checked in regarding the status of star shortstop Trevor Story, as well as Gray and others considered trade targets with the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline less than two months away. He said there “wasn’t anything to talk about” at this time, indicating the Rockies are still in wait-and-see mode.

“If it gets to that point, they kind of told me what they’re looking for," Schmidt said. "But really there hasn’t been anybody saying, ‘Hey, we want to do this or do that,’ so there’s nothing really to follow up on.”

When asked whether he is resigned to the notion that Story, who is scheduled to become a free agent after this season, will not return to the Rockies in 2022, Schmidt said “not necessarily.”

“We’ll see what happens,” Schmidt said. “We’re not at that point. … [Story and Gray] are here and we’ll see what happens.”

Schmidt also touched on the state of the franchise, including the Minor League system, which is currently ranked 27th in baseball, per MLB Pipeline. He said that there’s a chance we’ll see left-hander Ryan Rolison and outfielder Ryan Vilade, the club’s No. 2 and No. 4 prospects, respectively, with the Major League club sometime this season.

As for the current roster, Schmidt said the biggest missing ingredient has been execution, which comes with experience. He said that has particular relevance to the club’s play on the road, which so far has resulted in 22 losses in 26 games.

“They still have to learn,” Schmidt said, adding that the mounting losses away from Coors Field have made it ever more difficult to right the ship on the road. “They just have to get it done. It’s like knocking on the door -- sooner or later, you’ve just got to figure out how to get it done.”

While the club has floundered on the road, it entered play Saturday with a 19-13 record at Coors Field.

“I’ve been impressed with what our starting pitching has done,” Schmidt said. “You can say that about them on the road, too -- for the most part, they’ve pitched well on the road. I think it just comes down to -- and I’ll say it again -- just playing the game and executing.

“... They don’t want to [play poorly]. They’ve got pride. It’s just learning to get through it. And with that comes some confidence.”