CarGo makes five-star catch, but strains hammy
Outfielder's status uncertain for six-game homestand
PITTSBURGH -- Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez seems to be making five-star catches a common occurrence. He had another in Wednesday afternoon's 10-2 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park. But Gonzalez paid for this one with a lower right hamstring strain that threatens his availability in the immediate future.
Gonzalez made his second five-star catch of this season -- 0-25 percent catch probability, according to Statcast™ -- when he dove to rob Starling Marte for the first out of the fourth inning and finished the frame.
But Gerardo Parra batted for Gonzalez in the top of the fifth. CarGo, who has five five-star catches since Statcast™ began tracking catch probability in 2016, acknowledged afterward that it may be difficult to be in the lineup on Friday when the Rockies meet the Cubs at Coors Field to begin a three-game series and a six-game homestand.
"I want to be, but I don't now if I'm going to," Gonzalez said. "If you ask me how I feel today if I can play, of course I'm going to say no. But it's one of those things that you want to see progression. If I feel good enough to play baseball, I'll be in there."
The potential for Gonzalez to miss time adds to the uncertainty in the outfield. Parra has been appealing a four-game suspension for his role in an on-field fight during a game against the Padres last Wednesday. Third baseman Nolan Arenado will be back Friday from his suspension for the same fight, so it's expected that Parra will begin whatever suspension he faces on Friday.
With backup outfielder Mike Tauchman batting .050 (1-for-20), the Rockies may look for a little more pop in the starting lineup. At Triple-A Albuquerque, left-handed-hitting Raimel Tapia, who has seen big-league time the past two seasons, is hitting .235, but he is tied for the team lead with four home runs; right-handed-hitting Noel Cuevas is batting .353 with two homers and 11 RBIs; and left-handed-hitting David Dahl returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing 12 games with a stomach virus.
Gonzalez said he thought the injury was minor, so he didn't motion to the dugout for attention from trainers. Rockies manager Bud Black decided to remove Gonzalez.
"We took CarGo out for precautionary reasons," Black said. "We'll see how it sets up here over the next couple of days. We are hoping it resolves itself quickly, but we're not quite sure where this is headed. He's sore. It doesn't look to be a significant hamstring strain at this point, but it's still concerning. We'll see how he is in a couple of days."
Wednesday's catch had a 25 percent catch probability. Gonzalez needed to cover 53 feet in a 3.5-second opportunity time. With two strikes, he was playing toward the right-field line, and he had to dash to right-center to make the play.
"It was between me and Charlie, and I made the decision to go for it and made a good catch," Gonzalez said.
The sprinting, diving catch has become Gonzalez's specialty. However, whatever momentum the Rockies received from Gonzalez's catch slipped away when pitcher Kyle Freeland walked David Freese with two out in the fourth. Sean Rodriguez followed with a two-run homer, and Max Moroff added an RBI double for a 3-1 Pirates lead.