Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland figures to be out of action for at least a month after suffering a shoulder strain. But given how serious the injury appeared to be when Freeland exited Tuesday’s start against the A’s, that news is perceived as positive.
An MRI confirmed the strain but did not reveal a more severe issue.
“We were worried about the significance of it,” manager Bud Black told reporters on Thursday. “But the findings showed that, based on the degree of the strain, it looks pretty promising for Kyle here moving forward.”
Black could not give a specific timetable but indicated that the Rockies hope it will be possible to have Freeland back in action in May.
“He’s probably out of action at least a month,” Black said. “But within that month period, I would assume there will be some activity as far as throwing, paying catch and gaining strength back. Overall, it was good news.”
In the third inning of Tuesday’s start, Freeland spiked a pitch to Mark Canha, then reached with his right hand to grab the bottom of his left shoulder. It was an unsettling sight.
“When you see a pitcher buckle over and grab his arm, man, that hits you right in the stomach,” Black said. “You feel sick. That’s how I felt, and that’s how all of us felt. Any time you see that type of reaction … you think worst-case scenario and hope for the best as the days go on. At this point the doctors are encouraged about where the injury occurred.”
Freeland, who went 2-3 with a 4.33 ERA in 13 starts last season, was penciled into the Rockies’ No. 2 starting slot. Chi Chi González, Dereck Rodríguez and No. 2 prospect Ryan Rolison are vying to fill the vacancy in Freeland’s absence, though with an early off-day, the Rockies have the option of going with a four-man rotation the first time through.
Black said Freeland was able to exhale after the diagnosis.
“He’s ready to start rehabbing right away,” Black said. “We have treatment today, some light stretching. He’s moving it around. He had an ice pack on his shoulder. We’ve just got to let the injury quiet down and then, from there, you can pick up the strengthening and the therapy.”