Story takes pride in durability, consistency

Rockies shortstop plays in 101st consecutive game in finale vs. Dodgers

May 24th, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- Wednesday night was the 101st straight game that has taken the field for the Rockies.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Royals' leads the list of consecutive games played at 382, followed by the Padres' at 214 and the Athletics' , who was in the lineup Wednesday for the 129th straight time. Story hasn't sat out a game since last Aug. 5.

Story has been on the field through hot streaks (like last September when he hit six homers and drove in 22 runs) and cold (a .114 start through April 14 and .155 through May 5). That's because his defense, highlighted by the occasional spectacular play, is there each game, and his speed and aggressiveness on the bases (8-for-8 on steal attempts, going into Wednesday) are consistently part of his package.

Just four times, all toward the end of last season, Story wasn't in the starting lineup, but he ended up participating. He has started every game this year.

"He's built to play every day," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He comes to play every day. He takes care of himself physically. He doesn't show any signs of being tired, so his work capacity is large.

"Another component is being mentally fresh every day, and he's able to do this."

Story is proud he was judged enough of a contributor to stay on the field when his bat slumped. Black has been pushing for Story for Rawlings Gold Glove Award consideration, and his teammates say he is overlooked because of the other high-profile players at the position.

"There are other ways to help the team and it's not always with the bat," said Story, who hit 9-for-27 (.333) during a four-game set at San Francisco, but went 0-for-7 in the first two games with the Dodgers. "It's with the glove and on the bases, and making smart plays. At shortstop you have a lot of chances to do that. I try to take advantage of those."

Story, 25, is a key to a new offensive initiative.

Black pushed the Rockies to increase their basestealing this year, and third baseman -- noting Story's speed and confidence -- essentially let Story know Black was talking about him. Story is one of the reasons the Rockies went into Wednesday having succeeded on 15 straight steal attempts, which is tied for the second-longest streak in club history (18 is the high-water mark).

"I had the idea to steal more this year, but Nolan kind of nudged me in the offseason, and said, 'Hey man, you need to steal to help us win,'" Story said. "That gave me the confidence to really go for it."

But stealing can take a toll on hands and legs, with slamming into bags, gloves and opponents. Story, however, doesn't want that beating to push him off the field.

"It takes a toll on your body," Story said. "I learned that a little bit last year, and moreso this year, because it's a little bit more prominent. It just goes into recovery, taking care of your body, knowing how to do that, fueling it with the right stuff."

LeMahieu takes another step

Second baseman DJ LeMahieu, out of the lineup since May 13 with a left thumb injury, took grounders Wednesday for the first time since the injury and reported that there is less soreness and swelling. However, he didn't know when he would begin hitting or if he would need a Minor League rehab assignment before returning.

In the wings?

The Rockies were using LeMahieu either first or second in the order, and have scrambled to put a threat near the top to complement center fielder Charlie Blackmon. One possibility is Garrett Hampson, a third-round Draft choice out of Long Beach State in 2016, who on Wednesday started his seventh game at Triple-A Albuquerque after hitting .304 with a .391 on-base percentage and .466 slugging percentage in 38 games at Double-A Hartford.

Because of his collegiate experience, solid Spring Training (.278, .381 OBP, six steals in seven attempts) and speed, Hampson, the club's No. 7 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, is an option if LeMahieu needs extra time.