The writing was on the wall for the Rockies' Todd Helton as he missed a number of games with a forearm injury. Management finally decided they couldn't let him keep taking up a bench spot if he couldn't swing the bat, so they placed him on the Disabled List, retroactive to April 20. Up to take his place is third baseman Ryan Wheeler, who got the start last night.
Helton's injury and Jhoulys Chacin's back issues represent the first couple of health concerns the Rockies have had to face in 2013. The good news is, neither of those injuries is expected to make Helton or Chacin miss too much time; both men are expected to be back after the minimum of 15 days. In the meantime, Rockies fans are getting a look at the depth the team has to call on.
Wheeler presents a left-handed option at third base in case Walt Weiss wants to spell Chris Nelson against a tough right hander. Wheeler crushed the ball in Colorado Springs, putting up a .348/.407/.565 line in 54 plate appearances. In his first start as a Rockie last night, he pulled a double down the first base line in his first at-bat, but had some defensive yips at third.
Tyler Chatwood got the start on Wednesday, with mixed results. He allowed five runs on nine hits in six innings of work -- hardly sterling numbers, but enough to keep the Rockies in the game, which they eventually won in 12 innings. He experienced some control issues as well, with three walks allowed. Walks plagued him in his 64 innings last year as well. He's not going to be effective if he's allowing two baserunners per inning.
Of course, just because Chatwood and Wheeler were the first two players the Rockies turned to doesn't mean they are the only options. Drew Pomeranz is lurking in the Springs, striking out nearly 12 per 9 innings. Nolan Arenado, perhaps the Rockies' best prospect, has been terrorizing AAA like Godzilla terrorizes Tokyo. Those men should provide solid reinforcements if the need arises.
It takes more than 25 men to drive a baseball team through 6 months of play. Often times the quality of your depth determines whether you make the playoffs or not.
Troy Renck profiles last night's frustrating game. He maintains that the Rockies need to learn to win those low scoring games.
Thomas Harding catches up with newest Rockie Ryan Wheeler, recounting how he was told that he'd be joining the big league club.
Someone awesome made a gif of all five of Yu Darvish's pitches overlaid on top of each other. The body motion and arm angle are always identical, but the ball does bizarre and frightening things. There's a real good chance this guy wins the Cy Young award.