DAHL’S RECOVERY MIGHT BE TOO SLOW TO RETURN
David Dahl’s return from an unusual rib injury might tick away his clock this season. The Rockies outfielder finally returned to a baseball field last week, and in four minorleague starts he has six hits. His opening in the majors, though, is closing.
“He didn’t have spring training. This fella has to get at-bats,” Colorado manager Bud Black said Monday at Coors Field. “So he will stay down there for a while to get some at-bats. We’ll see if there’s a return to the big leagues or not.”
Black acknowledged that Dahl’s extended absence with a stressed rib bone — a freaky injury that prevented him from making rotational movements, including hitting — put the 23-year-old behind schedule in his second season.
“He has 15, 20 at-bats. That’s not very many,” Black said. “So he will stay down there for a while to get some at-bats. … He hasn’t played all season.”
Dahl hit .315 with a .500 slugging percentage last season over 63 games after a midseason call-up. His spot as the Rockies’ starting left fielder seemed secure. But in his second Cactus League game during spring training, he felt a tenderness in his upper back. It was diagnosed as a rib injury.
He returned only last week, for two games at Double-A Hartford, before jumping to Triple-A. It left Dahl, one of the Rockies’ top prospects before he debuted last season, a mystery to his manager.
“He’s talented. But I haven’t seen him play, except on video,” Black said.
Doctors on Monday checked out veteran right-hander Tyler Chatwood after his abbreviated appearance in New York on Saturday. His diagnosis remains the same: a strained right calf. But his time on the disabled list will continue without a timetable for return, Black said.
In his place, rookie lefty Kyle Freeland pitched three hitless innings in his first career relief appearance. Counting a near no-hitter last week, Freeland has allowed just one hit over 11L innings.
“He got loose quickly, came in throwing strikes,” Black said. “He pitched with a great deal of aggressiveness. He was outstanding.”
The Rockies, though, want to give Freeland a breather by putting him in the bullpen to limit his innings. So he will not start in Chatwood’s spot Friday. With an off day Thursday, rookie Jeff Hoffman will pitch on regular rest against the Pirates.
Antonio Senzatela, a rookie right-hander, will return to the rotation Tuesday against the Padres after his bullpen sojourn. Jon Gray will pitch Wednesday.
CarGo on hold.
Slumping right fielder Carlos Gonzalez did not start Monday, ceding his spot in the lineup to Gerardo Parra, but the Rockies will continue to let the slugger try to recover his form.
“He had a nice stretch in late May, early June that hasn’t come back,” Black said. “There hasn’t been anything that we tried or he tried that has panned out. But believe me, it’s coming.”
Gonzalez is hitting just 4for-33 over his past 10 games, and his season average has dipped to .214.
“He’s frustrated. But man, he’s a good Rockie,” Black said. “He’s still working hard. And it’s going to turn at some point. I wish I could tell you when. He’s been a pro, a team guy, very unselfish player. He’s doing everything he can. His preparation is outstanding.”
The Rockies recalled right-handed reliever Jairo Diaz and sent down lefty Zac Rosscup to Triple-A.