Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
With the Colorado Rockies looking to improve on last season’s 75-win output, an injury to outfielder Carlos Gonzalez’s hand will make their climb that much more difficult.
The All-Star was forced to leave Wednesday’s game at Dodger Stadium after getting hit on the hand by a Clayton Kershaw pitch, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
After the game, Shaikin reported Gonzalez suffered a bruised right hand.
Gonzalez actually swung at the pitch and ended up striking out in his only at-bat.
The 31-year-old had a solid 2016 with a .298/.350/.505 slash line in 150 games. He’s been overshadowed in Colorado by the continued ascension of Nolan Arenado, but his performance adds more depth to the middle of the team’s lineup.
The Rockies rarely struggle to find offense because Coors Field is such a hitter’s haven, but their lineup is already missing free-agent acquisition Ian Desmond after he suffered a broken hand during spring training.
Losing Gonzalez for even a brief period puts the Rockies up against a wall as they look to finish over .500 and challenge for a playoff spot. With breakout star David Dahl recovering from injury, manager Bud Black may be forced to platoon Gerardo Parra and Chris Denorfia in right field.
But no matter what move Black decides to make, Gonzalez’s production can’t be replaced by any potential replacement on Colorado’s roster.