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Sarah's Take: Black will boost Rox's morale

March 19, 2017

When the Rockies hired Bud Black as their new manager, the optimism surrounding the team for the upcoming season was the highest in years. With Black at the helm, Colorado believes it has a manager who understands pitching.Black was a pitcher and a successful pitching coach for the Angels before

When the Rockies hired Bud Black as their new manager, the optimism surrounding the team for the upcoming season was the highest in years. With Black at the helm, Colorado believes it has a manager who understands pitching.
Black was a pitcher and a successful pitching coach for the Angels before becoming a well-respected manager for the Padres. In just over eight seasons with the Padres, Black posted a 649-713 record.
The Rockies were competing for the National League Wild Card in 2016 until injuries took their toll. Unlike the Dodgers, whose depth enabled them to overcome a record-setting 25 players going on the disabled list and still win a fourth consecutive NL West title, the Rockies can't remain competitive with many injuries. They don't have the same financial resources as the Dodgers, and this won't change, regardless of the team's manager.
Even before Spring Training began, Black had a major job instilling confidence in Colorado. It's a young team, and even its veterans haven't been to the postseason.
The good news for the Rockies is that Trevor Story, future face of the franchise, has returned healthy from the torn thumb ligament suffered this past August. And so far, Carlos Gonzalez is healthy. However, injuries have plagued the team.
The signing of Ian Desmond to a five-year, $70 million contract to play first base surprised many in baseball. The Rockies ignored the fact that he hadn't played first base before in the Majors, because they wanted his potent bat. Originally a shortstop, Desmond was an outfielder this past year for the Rangers.
This spring, Desmond began transitioning to his new position. It was going pretty well until a wayward fastball broke his hand. He had surgery on Wednesday, and he is not expected to return for 4-6 weeks. The Rockies have other players who can man first, but none with offensive production like Desmond's.
Any time an expensive free-agent signing is injured during Spring Training, it is a major blow to a team's morale. Promising young pitcher Chad Bettis is undergoing another round of chemotherapy for a recurrence of testicular cancer. It would have been nice if Bettis could have performed for the Rockies, but sometimes the health of a player is much more important than his baseball achievement. Everyone in baseball is wishing Bettis well in his important fight.
Rockies catcher Tom Murphy has a hairline fracture in his right forearm, and he will miss 4-6 weeks. The Rockies don't have an abundance of outfielders, and David Dahl has a stress fracture in a rib. There is hope that he will return in early April.

Sarah D. Morris can be reached at sarahmorris27@gmail.com.