Story to have thumb surgery, miss rest of '16
DENVER -- A disconsolate Rockies shortstop Trevor Story announced Tuesday that he will undergo surgery on a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb and is likely to miss the remainder of a record-setting rookie season.
The thumb was originally thought to be jammed Saturday in a game against the Mets when he slid into second base, and he later landed on the thumb when diving for a ground ball. Original X-rays were negative, but MRI results Monday revealed the ligament tear.
Story has 27 home runs -- a National League record for a rookie shortstop and three fewer than the Major League record, set by the Red Sox's Nomar Garciaparra in 1997. Story's homer total led the NL. He also led NL rookies in RBIs with 72, was third in batting average at .272, and had 67 runs to trail the Dodgers' Corey Seager among newcomers.
Instead of continuing the can-you-top-this game with Seager, whose Dodgers were at Coors Field to begin a three-game set with the Rockies on Tuesday, Story was conducting a sad press conference. The club recalled switch-hitting infielder Rafael Ynoa from Triple-A Albuquerque in a corresponding roster move.
"Just very disappointing," Story said softly, his hat pulled to eyebrow level. "Very frustrating. The timing of it all is the worst part of it."
Story said recovery from surgery will take eight weeks, which takes him through the rest of the regular season. Story said he will have surgery "in the next few days," since more successful surgeries come earlier than later.
But Story's efforts helped put the Rockies in the NL Wild Card race, so it's conceivable that he could return should the Rockies make the postseason. In fact, Story was careful to say the injury will cost him "pretty much the regular season, so we'll see," but he left the postseason open.
Stranger things have happened. Those steeped in Rockies lore will recall that the 2007 club that made a surprise World Series appearance lost three of its five starting pitchers -- Aaron Cook, Rodrigo Lopez and Jason Hirsh -- before August. The only one to return was Cook, who started the fourth and final game of the World Series against the Red Sox.
"I just feel terrible that I won't be able to play every day," Story said. "I feel like I mean a lot to the team. To not be out there, that hurts."
In the here and now, manager Walt Weiss said veteran Daniel Descalso, switch-hitting rookie Cristhian Adames and the switch-hitting Ynoa would man the position in Story's absence.
"I feel bad for Trevor, because he was doing some really special things, historical things," Weiss said. "We'll be OK as a club. We'll mix and match and do our thing. I talk all the time to our club about the fact that over the course of seven months, you're going to be challenged in a variety of ways -- sometimes in the form of an injury, and that's what we're dealing with now."
Descalso is having a career year and has been one of the Rockies' best hitters. Spending time at all four infield positions and left field, Descalso entered play Tuesday hitting .320 with a .418 on-base percentage. He has started 10 of the team's 17 games after the All-Star break. Descalso has postseason pedigree, with two key hits in Game 6 of the Cardinals' 2011 World Series victory over the Rangers. The Rockies signed him for two years and $3.6 million before last season.
"I made some adjustments in the offseason and found some good rhythm and timing in my setup and my swing," Descalso said. "I got off to a good start, and I've been able to keep that rolling and get more and more at-bats."
Adames, 24, has hit .186 with one home run and eight RBIs while playing sparingly -- 113 at-bats in 73 games.
Ynoa, 28, will be making his first appearance on the active roster this season. In 94 games with Albuquerque, he batted .266 with 49 runs, 24 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 27 RBIs, 37 walks and five stolen bases.
Ynoa played in 72 games for the Rockies last season, hitting .260/.277/.339 with eight doubles, a triple and nine RBIs in 131 plate appearances.