The Colorado Rockies have had a brutal six-day stretch.
Last Thursday, starting pitcher Chad Bettis announced he’d have to undergo chemotherapy after a biopsy revealed he still had testicular cancer. On Sunday, $70 million man Ian Desmond broke a bone in his left hand after he was hit by a pitch. Then on Tuesday, the Rockies said catcher Tom Murphy has a hairline fracture in his arm that he sustained when it collided with a bat while trying to throw to second over the weekend.
All of a sudden, Colorado will likely be without a starting pitcher, its starting first baseman and one of the men who’s in competition for the starting catching job on opening day.
We know Bettis won’t be available when the Rockies begin the season April 3 against the Brewers. He might not be available at all this year as he goes through chemotherapy. As the team stressed Thursday, the primary issue with Bettis is his long-term health — not worrying about inconsequential things like baseball.
As for Desmond and Murphy, the likelihood of either being available for the season opener is next to none.
The Rockies didn’t provide a timetable on Desmond’s return. He’s having surgery to repair the second metacarpal in his left hand Wednesday. As Nick Groke noted, professional athletes who’ve recently had similar surgeries have missed anywhere between four to seven weeks. The Rockies’ season opener is less than three weeks away.
Here’s video of the pitch that broke his hand.
Murphy is expected to miss four to six weeks. The hairline fracture occurred when his right forearm collided with the bat of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Murphy was trying to throw a base runner out at second.
There are now two spots in Colorado’s starting pitching rotation behind Jon Gray, Tyler Chatwood and Tyler Anderson that need filling with Bettis out. Mark Reynolds, who started 102 games at first base last year, will likely fill in for Desmond while he’s out. At catcher, the most likely option to back up Tony Wolters is Dustin Garneau, who hit .235 in 75 plate appearances in 2016.
The Rockies will likely be missing three key contributors when their season begins April 3. It’s been a tough week at spring training.
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