Owings placed on IL with left thumb sprain

Hot-hitting infielder also dealing with right hamstring tightness

April 11th, 2021

, who has been the best hitter in the Rockies' lineup during the young season, was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left thumb sprain prior to Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Giants. The Rockies also selected the contract of infielder Alan Trejo from the club's alternate training site and designated left-hander Phillip Diehl for assignment.

Manager Bud Black said after Saturday's game that it's unclear when Owings will return to the lineup.

"On one of the previous swings prior to the triple [on Friday night against the Giants], his thumb caught on the other hand and it caused that sprain of a ligament in the lower part of the thumb," Black said. "It's an injury that [Rockies head trainer Keith Dugger] has seen before. Last night, we were hoping that the swelling would subside and the pain would decrease overnight. He got some treatment this morning, but Keith thought that this was going to be more of an extended injury. ... We're hoping for a sprain and nothing else to the joint and bones."

Black added that Owings had an MRI on Saturday, but the club is awaiting the results and should know more Sunday. Before Saturday's game, Black said Owings' right hamstring was also "a little tight" -- the veteran utility player missed a game earlier in the week due to right hamstring soreness.

Owings has been red-hot to open the season, hitting .533 (8-for-15) with three doubles, an MLB-leading three triples and two steals in seven games. He missed most of last season, his first with Colorado, due to injury.

In other injury-related news, left-hander Kyle Freeland (left shoulder strain) and second baseman Brendan Rodgers (right hamstring strain) are with the club in San Francisco, Black said.

"We'll monitor [Freeland's] rehab process first-hand as closely as we can," Black said Saturday. "He played a little bit of light catch yesterday and is going to play a little bit of light catch again today. Mostly strengthening and therapy, but he's making progress."

Black said Rodgers would hit on the field and take part in fielding drills prior to Saturday's game. There is still no timetable for his return to the lineup.

"He's progressing," Black said. "He's doing some running to a certain level of exertion, continuing to strengthen the hamstring and his lower half."

Sheffield keeping tabs on Vandy phenoms

The Vanderbilt baseball program has churned out first-round MLB Draft picks on a regular basis. One of those first-rounders is right-hander Jordan Sheffield, whom the Dodgers selected 36th overall in the 2016 Draft. Sheffield and fellow Vanderbilt alum and reliever Ben Bowden, who have reunited in Colorado, are riveted by what they're watching in the two phenoms who lead Vanderbilt's starting rotation today: Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker.

Leiter, in particular, has garnered national attention for his otherworldly numbers on the mound -- he has a 0.55 ERA and has struck out 84 batters in 49 innings, holding opponents to a .082 batting average. In his first career SEC start, the right-hander no-hit South Carolina for nine innings, and in his next start, he no-hit Missouri for seven.

"What he's doing is unbelievable right now," Sheffield said of Leiter. "The numbers speak for themselves, but I also heard that he's a great kid as well, which speaks ... to [head baseball coach] Tim Corbin and the coaches over there. If he can keep putting [those numbers] up, that should be a pretty good situation here in a couple of months."

Leiter and Rocker, who has posted a 1.88 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 48 innings, are projected to go first and second overall in June's MLB Draft. They could become the first teammates to ever go Nos. 1 and 2 overall.