Bryant done for '22: 'Totally excited for next year'

September 24th, 2022

DENVER -- Rockies outfielder acknowledged Saturday that returning from a right foot injury for a few late-season games is not "in the cards."

The first season of a seven-year, $182 million contract saw Bryant, 30, appear in just 42 games, with a back injury costing him much of the first half. Then came the combination of plantar fasciitis and a bone bruise in his right foot after the All-Star break. Bryant last played on July 31. He finished with a .306 batting average, five home runs (all on the road) and 14 RBIs.

The decision to shut it down for 2022 was expected, especially after Bryant underwent a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection on Aug. 24. That has a longer healing time than a cortisone injection (which Bryant used to return from the back injury). The good news, Bryant said, is he is running in baseball spikes sooner than he expected.

"The goal was to end the year with striders, at about 30% with the movement -- and I'm ahead of that, which is good," Bryant said. "I wanted to get as close to being able to play a game as I could, because then I can formulate an offseason approach that's better.

"If we were in the playoff hunt, I probably would have pushed through and got a cortisone shot. The PRP is more healing, while cortisone masks the pain."

The Rockies signed Bryant during the quick, post-lockout Spring Training in hopes his power could ignite the lineup and push the team into at least enough playoff relevance to be a Trade Deadline buyer. But with a thin roster, almost everything would have had to go right.

The Rockies finished 20-22 in games in which Bryant played -- 18-15 before the All-Star break. Poor pitching, a lack of depth and Bryant's declining health contributed to the Rockies’ nosedive early in the season’s second half.

"I've handled it as best as I could," Bryant said. "It is a little depressing, just not playing baseball. Coming to a team and signing a deal, it sucks not being out there. Every year from February to October, I'm used to playing baseball. And for the most part this year, I've been watching.

"I'm totally excited for next year. I know what to expect and I'm comfortable with the guys. It's been really cool to see the younger guys getting an opportunity. [Shortstop Ezequiel] Tovar and all these guys are getting an opportunity."

Bryant said the words of a mentor and former Cubs teammate, pitcher John Lackey, have helped him process a lost year in a city that he wanted to live in, one he felt was happy to see him.

"Everybody I've talked to, just run into on the street, was excited to see me and tell me how excited they are to see me play," Bryant said. "But talking with John Lackey, he said you are going to have years like this, and you should be grateful because that means you've had a really long career.

"It taught me to have the right perspective, but it's hard."