- The Rockies have outrighted infielder Cristhian Adames after he cleared waivers, the team announced. Also a DFA casualty, Adames will take up residence at Albuquerque. The 25-year-old saw 121 games of action last year for Colorado, but was used minimally in the early going of the current season, failing to record a hit in 14 plate appearances.
The Rockies announced that they’ve selected the contract of veteran backstop Ryan Hanigan, giving the club an additional option behind the plate with starting catcher Tony Wolters on the disabled list due to a concussion sustained in yesterday’s game. A 40-man roster move was not necessary, as the Rockies were only carrying 39 players on the 40-man prior to today’s moves. Colorado also announced that lefty Mike Dunn has been activated from the DL, with right-hander Carlos Estevez being optioned to Triple-A to clear a 25-man roster spot.
The 36-year-old Hanigan struggled to the worst season of his career with the Red Sox in 2016, hitting just .171/.230/.238 in 113 plate appearances while missing time with neck and ankle injuries. The longtime Reds backstop inked a minors deal with the Phillies this offseason but latched on with the Rockies after he didn’t make Philadelphia roster in Spring Training.
Thus far in 2017, Hanigan has hit well in the admittedly hitter-friendly environs of Colorado’s Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque. Through his first 13 games and 50 plate appearances, Hanigan is batting .282/.360/.359 with three doubles.
Dunn’s return will be a boon to the Rockies’ relief corps, as he’d gotten off to a terrific start with his new club in the first season of a three-year, $19MM contract. Dunn has yielded just one run on five hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.
Rockies catcher Tony Wolters left last night’s action after being struck on the head by the follow-through of a swing, as Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports. He was diagnosed with a concussion and placed on the 7-day concussion list after the contest.
That’s an unfortunate break for the 24-year-old, who was off to a productive start to the season. Through 54 plate appearances, he has slashed .360/.407/.460. Meanwhile, platoon partner Dustin Garneau has struggled to a .196/.245/.370 batting line in his fifty trips to the plate.
Over the winter, the plan was somewhat different. Colorado had hoped that Tom Murphy would handle a big share of the time behind the dish. But he broke his forearm this spring.
As Groke further reports on Twitter, Murphy has not healed quite as quickly as hoped. While he has moved from a splint to a soft cast, he’s obviously not yet cleared to participate in baseball activities. Once his arm is back to health, presumably, he’ll require a fairly lengthy process of preparing for the season.
Fortunately, the Rockies were able to pick up veteran Ryan Hanigan on a minor-league commitment late in camp. He has been playing at Triple-A since, where he’s hitting a typically OBP-heavy, power-shy .282/.360/.359.
It seems likely that Hanigan will get the call back to the majors. As Groke notes, the team already has an open 40-man spot to work with. If and when he returns to the majors, it’ll represent Hanigan’s eleventh-straight season of MLB action.
The Rockies welcomed Ian Desmond back into their lineup over the weekend, and while there’d been hope that he’d quickly be followed by outfielder David Dahl, that no longer seems likely. In an appearance on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM earlier this morning (Twitter link), Colorado skipper Bud Black said that Black is “still a ways away” and isn’t able to show “100 percent exertion on the swing.”
Dahl has been working his way back from a stress reaction in his ribcage — an injury he suffered very early in Spring Training — but has yet to progress to the point where he’s embarked on a minor league rehab assignment. As Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes, Dahl said over the weekend that his swing during a Friday batting practice session was “a little bit shaky,” and the 23-year-old took a day off from swinging the following day.
Black notes that Dahl will be back in the Rockies’ outfield mix when he is eventually healthy enough to return, but there’s no defined timetable for when that might be. Whenever that date arrives, Dahl will be fighting for at-bats in what has become a crowded outfield scene in Denver. While Desmond was originally signed to be the team’s primary first baseman, he started in left field on Sunday and will see some time in the outfield as a means of keeping hot-hitting Mark Reynolds’ bat in the lineup (primarily against lefties). Gerardo Parra, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez are all also in line for regular time in the outfield, and like Dahl, each of that trio is a left-handed hitter.
It’s not immediately clear how Dahl will fit into the puzzle upon his activation — other injuries or downturns in productivity may well factor into that decision — the 23-year-old should figure prominently into the Rockies’ plans once he returns to health. Dahl burst onto the scene with a .315/.359/.500 batting line through 237 plate appearances as a rookie last year, and though his .404 BABIP is clearly unsustainable, his blend of power, speed and solid defense should make him a mainstay in the Colorado outfield for the next several years.
As expected, the Rockies have activated Ian Desmond from the disabled list. Desmond will make his 2017 debut in left field Sunday for the Rockies and take the roster spot of infielder Cristhian Adames, whom the team has designated for assignment.
Adames, a member of the Rockies organization since 2008, first appeared in the majors in 2014 and has since hit just .206/.283/.278 in 343 career plate appearances. The majority of his work (256 PAs) came last year, when he batted .218/.304/.302. The 25-year-old collected another 14 big league PAs this month and failed to record a hit, also striking out six times and walking only once.
The 31-year-old Desmond has been on the shelf since fracturing his left hand on a hit by pitch on March 12, but he played an extended spring training game Saturday and then told reporters, including Harding: “As far as I know, the bone is healed. Now, it’s just about getting motion back and seeing what it’s going to feel like.”
Colorado raised eyebrows in the offseason when it signed Desmond to a five-year, $70MM contract, which also cost the club the 11th overall pick in this June’s draft. It came as a surprise, too, that the Rockies added Desmond with the intention of using him at first base, where he has never played. As a member of the Nationals from 2009-15, Desmond was a shortstop, but he spent last season as an outfielder with the Rangers.
When he suits up as a Rockie for the first time, he’ll displace Gerardo Parra in left field, per Harding, thanks to fill-in first baseman Mark Reynolds’ early season success at the plate. Reynolds has slashed an excellent .307/.367/.636 with eight home runs in 98 plate appearances, which is easily superior to the production of Colorado’s primary corner outfielders, Parra and Carlos Gonzalez. To some degree, Parra has bounced back from a nightmarish 2016, having hit a Coors Field-inflated .286/.324/.443 in 72 PAs; on the other hand, the normally solid Gonzalez has batted a meek .222/.286/.358 in 91 tries.
At some point, the Rockies will also have David Dahl as an option, which will add to their outfield logjam. Dahl, like Desmond, hasn’t played yet this season. The 23-year-old suffered a stress reaction in his sixth rib in early March, though he did show progress in his recovery when he took batting practice Friday. Dahl had a quality rookie year last season, hitting .315/.359/.500 in 237 PAs, and was in line to serve as an integral part of Colorado’s offense prior to his injury. It’s now up in the air how the Rockies will distribute playing time to him, Desmond, Parra, Reynolds and Gonzalez if they’re all healthy at the same time (notably, Desmond and Reynolds are right-handed hitters, while the rest are lefties). It could be a good problem for the Rockies, though, as they have unexpectedly started a National League West-leading 15-9 without any contributions from either Desmond or Dahl.
- Ian Desmond is nearing a return to the Rockies, manager Bud Black tells Nick Groke of the Denver Post. Desmond has been with the team but is splitting off to work at the team’s extended Spring Training complex this weekend, where he’ll begin playing in rehab games. According to Groke, Desmond will play multiple positions as he preps for the possibility of logging some outfield work in addition to his time at first base. Black tells Groke that Desmond is “closer than you think” to returning. Previously, Black has mentioned the possibility of Desmond working in the outfield against lefties to keep the Mark Reynolds’ hot right-handed bat in the lineup.
The Rockies announced on Wednesday that they’ve placed lefty reliever Mike Dunn on the 10-day disabled list due to back spasms. Filling Dunn’s place on the 25-man roster will be fellow veteran Chad Qualls, who will return to the ’pen after missing the first three weeks of the season due to tightness in his right forearm. Dunn’s subtraction from the relief corps comes as a blow to the Rox, given how excellent he’s been thus far in the first few weeks of a three-year, $19MM deal. Through his first 7 2/3 innings as a member of the Rockies, Dunn has allowed just one run on five hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts. The 38-year-old Qualls, meanwhile, will be looking to rebound after posting a 5.23 ERA in the first season of a two-year deal with the Rox.
The injury to Madison Bumgarner and the slow start from the Dodgers has created an unexpected window for the Rockies and Diamondbacks in the National League West, argues Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. While both Colorado and Arizona come with some question marks — the Rockies will soon be trotting out a three-rookie rotation, while the D-backs are braced for a potential injury to a somewhat improved Shelby Miller — both teams are stocked with emerging talent. First-year managers Bud Black and Torey Lovullo both spoke to Rosenthal on Sunday about their teams’ quick starts to the year. Interestingly, Black suggested that it’s possible that Ian Desmond will see some time in the outfield upon his return from a fractured hand, as that would allow him to get both Mark Reynolds and Desmond into the lineup against tougher left-handed starters. While the season is still in its early stages and much can change — the D-backs and Rockies were both .500 on this day last year, and the White Sox had baseball’s third-best record — the influx of young talent and return of injured stars in both Colorado and Arizona at least gives both clubs optimism that they could soon return to contention.
- The Rockies’ plan when they signed Ian Desmond during the winter was to play him exclusively at first base this year, but Mark Reynolds’ hot start has them rethinking that idea, Owen Perkins of MLB.com suggests. Desmond hasn’t debuted yet this season because of a fractured left hand, but when the shortstop/outfield option does come back (likely sometime in May), the Rockies might take advantage of his ability to handle multiple positions. When asked if that’s the case, manager Bud Black said “yes,” but he noted that using Desmond at short isn’t under consideration. Colorado has a young starter there in second-year man Trevor Story, though he’s hitting a mere .156/.260/.406 in the early going.