Story's injury less severe than initially feared

Rockies shortstop out 'a few days' with elbow inflammation

September 18th, 2018

LOS ANGELES -- The Rockies got good news from 's MRI exam results on Tuesday. Colorado's shortstop has inflammation in his right elbow, not a ligament injury, and will be sidelined a few days, according to manager Bud Black. Story exited early in Monday's 8-2 loss to the Dodgers.

"The joint is fine, ligament is intact and there is no structural damage," Black told reporters before Tuesday's game, adding that he hoped to have his starting shortstop back "in a few days."

Story left Monday's game in the fourth inning with right elbow soreness following a swing and miss against Los Angeles left-hander , though Story said after the game that he initially hurt his elbow during a dive and throw at shortstop to nab on a groundout.

As Story dove to his left, he landed awkwardly on his elbow before making a throw. The third-year starter appeared to grimace as he shook his right arm when returning to his position ahead of the ensuing at-bat. Story also said that he experienced pain when swinging.

"I felt something on the throw when I dove for the ball," Story said. "My elbow was a little tight, but I just tried to play through it. When I swung through that pitch, it kind of extended my arm and I felt it a little more."

Perhaps more than any player within the Rockies' lineup, Story is the one everyday player the club can least afford to lose. He's been as important as any player in their ascension into postseason contention, but more chiefly, shortstop is the most uncertain position on the roster beyond the everyday starter.

Now, they expect only to need a replacement for a few days. The Rockies elected to go with for Tuesday's game over starting first baseman , who played shortstop for the Nationals in his first seven years in the big leagues. Desmond hasn't played shortstop full time since 2015, and when Story went down with a left shoulder strain in May 2017, the club was hesitant to have Desmond fill in at short -- though he did take infield practice there.

Hampson has been in the Majors for just a few months, slashing .261/.414/.391 in 23 at-bats. He's filled in as a utility player -- primarily as a second baseman when DJ LeMahieu was sidelined over three DL stints earlier this year -- and he's played just one game at shortstop for the Rockies this year. He not only has big shoes to fill by replacing Story, a potential MVP Award candidate, but he's tasked with facing one of the league's best pitchers in .

"It's going to be a challenge," Hampson said. "He's one of the best and I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to try and contribute the best I can."

Hampson was notified about the start at early batting practice Tuesday by bench coach Mike Redmond.

"This is what you dream of," he added. "You want to compete like this in meaningful games. I'm ready for it."

"[Garrett's] going to be just fine," third baseman said. "We communicate fine."

While Colorado is optimistic about the amount of time Story could miss, his absence comes at the peak of a critical series with the Dodgers. The Rockies entered Tuesday a half-game out of first place in the NL West behind the Dodgers and a half-game out of the second NL Wild Card spot behind the Cardinals.

"Going into this, we knew it was going to take everybody," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "You never anticipate there being a possible injury, you never can anticipate when or if it's going to be an injury to one of your main guys.

"You're faced with one of two things," he quipped. "You can go out and say 'Oh well, someone got hurt,' and we pack it up and go home, or we keep battling and stick to the fact that it's going to take everybody in order to get where we want to be. It's going to take the whole team to pick up the pace."

"We feel for [Story], but at the same time we have a job to do," Arenado added. "We have a game to go out there and play. The Dodgers don't feel bad, they're going to go out there ready to go, so we have to be ready to compete."

A first-time All-Star in 2018, Story is having a career year in which he's generated buzz in September as a possible candidate for the National League MVP Award. He is hitting .288/.343/.550 with a career-high 33 homers, which trail only Matt Carpenter (35), (34) and Arenado (34) for the NL lead.

Story tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb in late July during his record-setting rookie season in 2016, an injury that required surgery and ended his season.