DESMOND HITS DL; NESHEK ACTIVATED
WASHINGTON» Ian Desmond’s homecoming was ruined Friday when the Rockies placed the veteran outfielder on the 10-day disabled list before the start of a three-game series against the Nationals.
The Rockies used that open roster spot to activate right-hander Pat Neshek, the reliever traded to Colorado on Wednesday by the Phillies.
Desmond, a longtime shortstop with the Nationals and a fan favorite in Washington, suffered a reoccurring right calf strain in the second inning of a game Tuesday at St. Louis.
“It’s tough. This is one I had marked on my schedule,” Desmond said. “My first time back, I wanted to get back in front of the fans who rooted me on for so long. But with the position our team is in, it’s probably better to have a fresh body than me limping around out there.”
Among his seven seasons with Washington through 2015, Desmond was an all-star in 2012 and twice a Silver Slugger award winner. He grew so deep-rooted with the Nationals, his daily pregame routine included waving to Susan, an usher next to the home dugout, and tipping his cap to a familiar fan down the first-base line.
“I’m not necessarily thinking about games,” he said. “It’s more about spending time with the people you care about for so long, who become part of your family and you daily life.”
The weather also messed with Desmond’s return. Nearly constant rain Friday forced postponement of the Rockies-Nationals game. It will be played Sunday as part of a doubleheader, with MDT game times of 11:35 a.m. and 5:05 p.m.
German Marquez, who was scheduled to pitch Friday for the Rockies, will be bumped to Saturday. The Nationals will do the same with Tanner Roark.
Desmond’s absence creates another conundrum for the Rockies. This is his third trip to the disabled list this year; an errant pitch in a spring training game broke his left hand, and he first suffered a calf strain earlier this month. He had never before been on the DL.
And with a three-man position player bench listed Friday — utility players Alexi Amarista and Pat Valaika and catcher Ryan Hanigan — the Rockies are short at first base. Gerardo Parra would have been Mark Reynolds’ backup.
Desmond’s disabled list stint extends retroactively to Wednesday, making him eligible to return Aug. 5. The Rockies likely will call up another position player from the minor leagues. Raimel Tapia is an option. So is Jordan Patterson or David Dahl.
With Neshek as an additional reliever and one fewer position player with Desmond down, the Rockies were set to start their weekend series with an unusual 10-man bullpen. Regular starter Tyler Chatwood remains in the bullpen.