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Arenado still sore, limited to pinch-hit duty

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said he has strength in his right shoulder, but he still felt the same level of soreness that led to him leaving Friday night's 5-4 victory over the Dodgers in the fifth inning.

While the injury flares when he extends his arm on throws, there is good news -- he said he was told the issue is in the middle of his deltoid (shoulder muscle) but there does not appear to be damage in the four rotator cuff muscles.

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DENVER -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said he has strength in his right shoulder, but he still felt the same level of soreness that led to him leaving Friday night's 5-4 victory over the Dodgers in the fifth inning.

While the injury flares when he extends his arm on throws, there is good news -- he said he was told the issue is in the middle of his deltoid (shoulder muscle) but there does not appear to be damage in the four rotator cuff muscles.

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Arenado didn't start on Saturday night, but he took batting practice, fielded grounders at third base and pinch-hit in the ninth inning of the Rockies' 3-2 walk-off win. The injury does not affect his swing. And he said the resistance exercises didn't reveal undue weakness.

"It's just making sure the strength is good, and it is," Arenado said. "It's just a little strain or something. Just take it day by day.

"It's affecting my throwing, for sure. I can't go out there if it's going to affect my throwing. It doesn't hurt doing anything except extending when I throw."

Video: LAD@COL: Arenado on shoulder injury vs. Dodgers

Ryan McMahon, who replaced Arenado and hit the winning two-run homer in the seventh, started Saturday night at third base -- the position he played when selected in the second round in 2013.

While the Rockies hope Arenado can come back as soon as possible, there could be a work-around. After Sunday's conclusion of the set with the Dodgers, the Rockies are off Monday and then play a two-game set at Houston -- where Arenado could serve as designated hitter.

"We've got to make sure we stay on top of it, medically," Black said. "Our conversations are where he gets back to playing as an everyday player, and he can manage this and continue to get better, even as he's playing.

"Hopefully, by then he'll be able to play defense, because we love the glove. But if he can't make it on the field, he'll DH."

McGee firing
Even before his 1 2/3 scoreless innings while earning the win on Friday, lefty Jake McGee has felt better about his four-seam fastball -- his best pitch. In his previous outing, he gave up a home run to the Pirates' Josh Harrison, but that was on a 95.9-mph fastball on the eighth pitch of a quality at-bat.

"I didn't have really good stuff before, but now it's here," said McGee, who has a 6.35 ERA in 46 appearances in the first year of a three-year, $27 million contract. "I could've gotten frustrated with the Harrison home run, but it was a good pitch, 96 down and away. Just stick with the process. It feels good to have the velo back, and I'm throwing quality strikes, too."

On Friday, McGee's four-seam fastball topped out at 97.8 mph, and he didn't dip below 94.1. Before July 29, just 17 percent of his four-seamers were 95 mph or faster. Since then, it's 38.8 percent.

Part of it, McGee said, is the urgency of the time of year, but another part is he tends to feel better later in seasons. Last year, for example, after returning in August from a mid-back strain, he was scoreless in 15 of his final 19 appearances.

"A lot of times, I'll get stronger in August and September," McGee said. "It's not a bad thing. Your body gets in a routine of playing so many games. And especially with us playing the Dodgers in the division and us being all so close. There's extra adrenaline, too. It's almost like playoff games in August."

RISPY business
How unusual was it to win a game despite going 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position, as the Rockies did on Friday? It was the first time this season a Major League team went 0-for-13 or worse with runners in scoring position and won. The last time it happened was April 22, 2017, when the Cardinals went 0-for-14 while beating the Brewers, 4-1.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Nolan Arenado