Blackmon heads to injured list with calf strain

May 27th, 2019

DENVER -- Here’s what to make of the Rockies’ decision to place right fielder on the 10-day injured list Monday (retroactive to Saturday) with a right calf strain:

He tried but he couldn’t do it: The move came after Blackmon tested the calf on Sunday. It was better, but it hadn’t improved enough to get him back on the field soon. He’ll miss the rest of this 10-game homestand and will be eligible to return for the June 4 opener of a three-game set against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

“It’s been getting better every day,” said Blackmon, who has hit safely in 28 of his last 30 games and is slashing .300/.356/.565. “It feels better today than yesterday and the day before. I thought that would translate a little better out there with my agility work that I was doing, but it’s just not quite there yet.”

What the Rockies are missing: It would have been nice to have Blackmon for this four-game set vs. the National League West-rival D-backs. Blackmon’s .921 OPS entering Monday ranked second in the National League among leadoff batters, according to STATS Inc. Keep in mind that the leader, the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson, had 146 leadoff plate appearances to Blackmon’s 219.

How the Rockies are covering: David Dahl and Raimel Tapia, who had been in an outfield rotation with Ian Desmond, started in right and left, respectively, Monday for the fourth straight game.

Tapia entered Monday 3-for-14 with a double, four strikeouts and a walk in three games at the leadoff spot. Tapia (batting .282/.325/.507 entering Monday) has a more old-fashioned leadoff skill set.

“’Tap’ has been good all year, as far as his approach and how he’s playing the game,” manager Bud Black said. “He’s had enough exposure to the big leagues where he should be past that and being able to play his game, so I haven’t noticed anything different from what we’ve seen most of the season. He’s playing his game.”

Yonathan Daza is back: During an earlier call-up, Daza went 0-for-11 with four strikeouts and a walk. But when he went back to Triple-A Albuquerque, Daza continued a solid season -- he's batted .366 with five home runs, 20 RBIs, 15 doubles and three triples in 38 games. He had 21 strikeouts in 186 plate appearances, with better attention to putting balls in play.

Daza said he learned from his first stint in the big leagues despite going hitless.

“For sure, I have to slow the game down,” Daza said. “When I was here [the first time], I had a lot of confidence. When they sent me back, I said, ‘OK, I can play with those guys in the big leagues.’ My manager [Glenallen Hill in Albuquerque] told me, ‘You can play in the big leagues for a long time. You have a lot of talent. Be you and go there and play like you play here.’”

Paperwork: In addition to recalling Daza to replace Blackmon on the active roster, the Rockies optioned injured outfielder Noel Cuevas to Albuquerque. Cuevas left his only Major League game this season with a left quad strain, and he recently began a rehab assignment at Albuquerque. The option removes the 20-day limit for a rehab assignment.

Worth noting

• Right-hander Wade Davis, on the 10-day IL with a left oblique strain, has been playing catch for three days. He has yet to be scheduled to throw off a mound, but he continues to progress.

• Black gave shortstop Trevor Story his first day off from the starting lineup on Monday, starting Brendan Rodgers at shortstop with Ryan McMahon at second base.

Black said he and Story targeted Monday as a day off. It raised some eyebrows because it was against Zack Greinke, against whom Story is batting .300 in 40 at-bats between the regular season and postseason. But he is 3-for-14 against the right-hander since the start of 2018.

• After breezing through three innings on 27 pitches Saturday for Double-A Hartford, left-hander Chris Rusin (upper back discomfort) is scheduled to pitch Tuesday for Hartford as his rehab continues.