DENVER -- The Rockies’ rotation, considered an asset in the team’s push for the postseason, has absorbed a blow, because righty Jon Gray will not have enough time to rehab and return from the right shoulder inflammation that forced him to the injured list at the start of this month. Manager Bud Black made the announcement on Wednesday morning.
“It doesn't look as though Jon's going to come back,” Black said. “Just too short of a season here, with only 13 games.”
The Rockies are getting solid work from righties Germán Márquez, Antonio Senzatela (who delivered a complete-game 3-1 victory over Oakland on Tuesday) and lefty Kyle Freeland. Rookie Ryan Castellani is going through typical ups and downs. The fifth spot is in question.
Black said that righty Chi Chi González is penciled in for Saturday against the Dodgers, but Black said much depends on what happens before then, since González is available for relief work.
It has been a strange year for González, who left his first start of the year after three innings, missed nearly four weeks with tendinitis in his right biceps, came back for two encouraging relief appearances, then returned to the rotation on Sept. 8 but struggled (four runs on three walks and a hit batsman in one-third of an inning).
Gray (2-4, 6.69 ERA in eight starts) has had a strange season, but the injury finally provides some explanation. His last eight starts alternated between good and awful, and his four-seam fastball velocity was 2 mph lower than last season for all but one start, on Aug. 26, when he held the D-backs to one run and three hits in six innings of a win at Chase Field.
Gray said that he at least is happy his health is trending in the right direction.
"The shoulder is getting better," Gray said. "I was getting pinches in my biceps tendon. I'm really trying to work on the mobility and get it moving correctly. It's not a good thing, but nothing is broken."
In his most recent start, on Sept. 1, he gave up nine hits -- including two home runs -- and seven runs in 2 2/3 innings of the Rockies’ 23-5 loss to the Giants. He said afterward that his velocity and ability to “snap off” his slider were missing. Within a couple of days, the Rockies placed him on the 10-day IL because his arm was not recovering.
Gray, who missed the final month and a half of last season with a stress fracture in his right foot, threw what Black called a “light bullpen session” on Saturday. Afterward, Gray met with coaches and trainers, and they came to the decision. Black ruled out relief work.
“Jon is bummed,” Black sad. “Jon wanted to be a contributor, and he’s a competitor.”
Just like on TV
Second baseman Garrett Hampson’s diving backhand glove flip to shortstop Trevor Story on Tuesday started a key double play in Senzatela’s complete game.
The idea has to come from somewhere, right?
Hampson was inspired by a similar play in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.
“The Giants turned it -- Joe Panik with the backhand flip to Brandon Crawford,” Hampson said. “That was a huge play and close game.
“I just remember thinking like, 'Wow, such a big spot to try to do that, something like that in a World Series,” Hampson said. “It’s pretty risky, but it’s not really something you plan.”
Hispanic Heritage Month celebration
The Rockies’ celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month will occur on Friday with Día de Los Rockies! Players and coaches will wear Los Rockies T-shirts during batting practice, as will announcers during the AT&T SportsNet telecast. The event also will include such pregame and in-game elements as Latin music, player features and a virtual Latin flag parade by students from the International School of Denver.
MLB on Wednesday announced the 2021 Spring Training schedule for all teams, with the Rockies opening on Feb. 27 against the D-backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz. The final Cactus League game is set for March 30 at Salt River Fields against the Mariners.