It's only March, but the injury bug is already starting to bite the Rockies.
We'll have to wait on the results of the MRI before we know if we're in the clear, but anytime a young, promising arm like this has to leave a game in the first inning, you hold your breath. If Gray does have to miss a significant amount of time, it could open the door for Chris Rusin who has missed most of this spring with a small injury of his own (finger).
Before yesterday, we could pretty much pencil in Jorge De La Rosa, Chad Bettis, Jon Gray, Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Lyles into the rotation. Now we have to wait on Gray's status to see if that will remain intact. (One complication here is that Chris Rusin is out of options, so the only way he can go to the minors is if he's on a rehab assignment. If he is not needed in the rotation and proves healthy, he'll have to start in the bullpen if the Rockies want to keep him on the roster.)
In addition to the Gray and Rusin injuries, the Rockies have already lost reliever Jairo Diaz for the season to Tommy John surgery, as well as Daniel Descalso and Tyler Anderson for at least the next few weeks with a broken left hand (Descalso) and a strained right oblique (Anderson). Add in Tyler Matzek being excused from camp so he can better confront anxiety issues, and Adam Ottavino not coming back from last year's Tommy John surgery until mid-season, and the depth of this pitching staff is already beginning to thin out.
Speaking of depth thinning out, has anybody else been noticed the disastrous spring they're having over in Dodger land? Giant fans certainly have, but as Grant points out, they have the depth and the farm system to weather this kind of storm. With that said, they're burning through all of their depth before the season even starts, and if things don't start improving here as we head into April and May, they may have to start making moves that weaken them in seasons down the road if they want to stay ahead of Arizona and San Francisco in 2016. This would be the best case scenario for the Rockies.
Also, since Grant published that article yesterday afternoon, the Dodgers have suffered another big loss. After fouling a ball off his leg last Friday, a bone scan early this week revealed that Andre Ethier broke his tibia and is out 10-14 weeks.
Since injuries seem to be the theme of the day, the Rockies have also been discussing how they can prevent them, specifically when it comes to Tyler Chatwood who is making a comeback from Tommy John surgery. The club will likely pay extra close attention to when Chatwood is getting fatigued in games and his early season workload.
When healthy (as rare as that's been), Chatwood's been a good pitcher for the Rockies, so they'd like to see him on the mound as much as possible in in 2016.
McGee is the better pitcher of the two, so I'd rather have Motte in the closer role since your most valuable reliever should be used in the higher leverage situations that usually come before the ninth inning. On this team though, it probably doesn't matter who is pitching what inning late in the game since they're likely to be buried in the standings again by mid-summer.
In a momentous event, 55,000 Cubans flocked to central Havana to see their national team take on the Rays. The game was only an exhibition, but try telling that to the fans who made the atmosphere livelier than some Rays' playoffs games I've seen at Tropicana Field. The home team didn't score until the final inning, but that didn't seem to dampen the spirit of the event. I can't imagine how crazy the crowd would have gotten if they had more to cheer about on the field in the early innings.
More than anything though, this event showed how baseball is more than just a game. Yesterday, we saw how it has the power to connect nations who for decades have had cold relations at best. It certainly won't solve all the problems between governments, but North America's most popular sport certainly has wide ranging positive impacts that can reach across international borders. That feeling was palpable yesterday afternoon. What a beautiful moment.