In an unfortunate development regarding the Rockies' catching corps, Jose Morales has been placed on the 60-day DL with a broken thumb.
Morales, 28, was acquired during the offseason in trade to join the 3-way competition for the role of backup catcher to Chris Iannetta. Competing with offseason signing Matt Pagnozzi and farmhand Mike McKenry, Morales impressed the Rockies' brass with his approach at the plate and handling of the pitching staff.
Morales has been noted as of late by manager Jim Tracy for working well with struggling Ace Ubaldo JImenez, catching 2 of his more recent excellent starts (including his 4-hit shutout of the Dodgers). On top of his rapport with Jimenez, Morales has also come on in the past week at the plate, batting .571/.625/.714 (1.339 OPS) over the past 7 days.
The timing of this injury definitely puts both Morales and the Rockies front office at a disadvantage. Word from the beat was that Morales was quietly being shopped to the Pittsburgh Pirates given their lack of Major League catching options. The talks fizzled after Pittsburgh acquired Mike McKenry from the Red Sox.
Pagnozzi, 28, has appeared in 30 games in AAA Colorado Springs, putting up a .275/.340/.418 batting line.
This move, while disappointing, won't affect the Rockies' catching situation much, as Iannetta has held the starting job relatively firmly this season. Morales has gotten a few more starts as of late, based on both battery matchups and his improvement at the plate, but with Pagnozzi still a relative newcomer to the organization, Iannetta will likely be back to a 70-30 split in playing time, given his experience working with the staff and Pagnozzi's lack thereof.