7:10pm: Despite that ominous report from Rosenthal, manager Bud Black tells reporters that Story’s MRI did not show any structural damage, and his ulnar collateral ligament is intact (Twitter link via Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller). In fact, Black adds that he hopes to have Story back in the lineup in “a few days.”
1:59pm: There’s nothing official yet, and perhaps the details are still unknown even to team and player, but the initial indication is not terribly promising. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, via Twitter, Story is “facing potential UCL damage in [his] right elbow.”
In the worst case, of course, a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament can require Tommy John surgery, though there’s no indication to this point whether that will even be considered. Story’s outlook will be better than that of a pitcher, regardless of the final diagnosis, but even a strain could require enough rest to knock him out for the rest of the season and most, if not all, of the postseason.
8:16am: The Rockies are awaiting further word on shortstop Trevor Story, who exited last night’s contest with what the team described as elbow soreness. Story is slated to undergo further examination and testing today, as Kyle Newman of the Denver Post reports (Twitter links).
It’s a worrying situation for a Colorado club that went on to drop the first of a critical three-game set to the Dodgers, thereby surrendering the top spot in the NL West. Even a brief absence from Story could be of great significance; as Dan Symborski of Fangraphs observed on Twitter, the outcome of this series has a massive impact on the probabilities of which team will win the division.
Story, 25, has turned in an outstanding season after a sophomore slump in 2017. Through 623 plate appearances, he’s carrying a .288/.343/.550 slash with 33 home runs. He still strikes out a lot and doesn’t draw many walks, but Story has pared back on the swing-and-miss (26.2% K rate; 11.5% swinging strike rate) as against his prior seasons, even while increasing his swing and chase rates.
While his glovework hasn’t graded as brilliantly this year as last, Story also combines with third bagger Nolan Arenado to form a gifted defensive pairing. Story is even expanding his repertoire a bit this year, swiping 26 bags after not reaching double-digits in either of his first two MLB campaigns.
In sum, the Rockies don’t have much hope of replacing Story’s productivity for any stretch he ends up missing. At this stage of the season, there’s little to do but call upon the next man up and hope for the best. Of course, Story has played almost every inning at short this season, so it’s not entirely clear how the club will fill in. Ian Desmond spent much of his career there and has shifted to short twice already this season. Otherwise, Pat Valaika and Garrett Hampson are the only active players who’ve appeared at the position in 2018.
Clearly, then, a swift return would be most welcome. Story says he experienced pain while throwing and swinging after diving for a ball early in the game, which sounds a bit ominous. But Black suggests there’s at least some cause for optimism after the initial look from the team’s training staff. Of course, he also acknowledged “some apprehension” while waiting for imaging results — an understandable position with so much at stake.