PHOENIX -- Shortstop Trevor Story has played catch and taken batting practice the last two days, but there isn't a timetable on his return from the elbow injury that kept him out of the Rockies' starting lineup for the third straight game Friday night.A National League Most Valuable Player candidate,
PHOENIX -- Shortstop Trevor Story has played catch and taken batting practice the last two days, but there isn't a timetable on his return from the elbow injury that kept him out of the Rockies' starting lineup for the third straight game Friday night.
A National League Most Valuable Player candidate, Story suffered the injury on a dive-and-throw during Monday night's loss to the Dodgers. He left the game during his next at-bat, when the pain continued. The injury occurs during a road trip that has seen the Rockies sink from the National League West lead to, entering Friday, the outside looking in to the postseason.
Rookie Garrett Hampson started at short Friday for the second time in Story's three-game absence from the starting lineup. Manager Bud Black moved first baseman Ian Desmond, originally a shortstop, to the position Wednesday.
"This is still an injury that if you push it, you could go backwards," Black said. "The thinking is another day, maybe another two days, three days, I'm not sure. It's going to depend on some of the tests that Trevor does during the game in the training room, how he reports tomorrow.
"We'll do a little bit more testing on his strength. Then we're getting close to him being on the field. But today was encouraging, just because he had a bat in his hand. He was taking batting practice. He had a glove on his hand. He was taking throws. And he did this with the confidence that leads us to believe he'll play in these next 10 games. I wish I could tell you when."
Story played catch at the Rockies' Arizona complex Thursday, then was on the field for early batting practice Friday. But nothing he has done has been full speed.
"We know we don't have a lot of time, but we want to be smart with it," Story said. "We don't want to rush out there too early."
Story said he felt better hitting than throwing Thursday, and the feelings reversed themselves Friday. Although Story said, "I think so" when asked if he could pinch-hit as early as Friday, Black said he would most likely limit Story to pinch-running for now.
Story hasn't tested throwing from varying arm angles, which Story has done with aplomb during a season that has seen him take major strides defensively as well as offensively (.288, 33 homers, 102 RBIs). If healing remains slow, Story said it's possible he could play while being careful with throws.
"It's something that I can work around," Story said. "There are times I like to throw sidearm or underneath, but obviously you have to make little compromises to stay heathy. It's not like I can't play shortstop without different arm angles. It's just something I'll have to be conscious about, use my legs a lot more."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.