Notes: Rodgers sidelined; Bird needs to fly

March 19th, 2021

, who was having a productive Spring Training, looked like he was going to win the job as the Rockies' starting second baseman. Unfortunately, he will instead begin the season on the injured list because of a right hamstring strain, according to manager Bud Black.

Rodgers, 24, sustained the injury against the Mariners on Saturday when he tried to steal a base. Rodgers was 8-for-23 with two home runs and five RBIs before the setback.

Black initially thought the hamstring injury was a mild one, but an imaging test showed otherwise and Rodgers is expected to miss at least a month.

“I think we'll be able to treat it aggressively in the training room,” Black said. "But talking to [head athletic trainer Keith Dugger] and Keith’s consultation with doctors, he felt as though it's probably best to take a step back and let that area heal a little bit more. We’ll strengthen it, we'll do the modalities on it. We'll take care of it on a daily basis to get it to the point where he can resume more intensive activities.”

Rodgers has struggled to live up to his glowing reputation after being selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. He's played 32 games in the big leagues over the past two seasons and has batted just .196 (19-for-97) with no homers and nine RBIs.

With Rodgers out of action, Black would not say who will be starting at second base to open the season. The team plans to play it by ear.

“Like we've said all along, we like the versatility of our group. We like the fact that [Ryan] McMahon can play third or second,” Black said. “We got [Chris Owings, Alan Trejo, Eric Stamets and Garrett Hampson]. You will see those guys playing second base and shortstop the rest of the spring.

“So we have the versatility and we've talked about it for such a long time. … So we're not in a bind as far as the guys that we can put at second or third."

Bird needs to produce
Rockies first baseman Greg Bird needs to produce if he wants to make the team out of Spring Training. Entering Friday’s action against the Indians, Bird was 4-for-27 with one homer and three RBIs.

Black knows Bird is capable of doing much better -- Bird was a clutch performer in the 2017 postseason while playing for the Yankees and looked like a budding star then, but injuries have stood in the way of his progress.

“There is an at-bat that is professional,” Black said. “I think he has good strike-zone awareness. He swings at strikes, takes balls. He seems to be getting back on his feet heath-wise and that is a good thing. We are taking a hard look at him. We’ll see how this plays out the next week to 10 days.”

Worth noting
• The Rockies had a scheduled day off on Thursday, but Black spent part of the day watching left-hander Kyle Freeland throw five simulated innings. According to Black, Freeland threw the ball great.