April 4, 2011
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Never trust the weather in Colorado. Especially in the spring.
After opening the season with two games played in near-perfect weather, with temperatures in the mid-70's, the Colorado Rockies were greeted by wind, rain and snow on Sunday in preparation for the finale of their three game set with the Diamondbacks.
The season may be just three days old, but the bad weather was very welcomed in the Rockies clubhouse.
On Opening Day, All-Star ace Ubaldo Jimenez, whose fastball normally never dips below 97 MPH, was working in the low-90's. Needless to say, he gave up five earned runs in four innings. Last season it took Jimenez six starts to give up five runs.
After the game it came out that Jimenez had cut his right thumb the previous day, aggravating an injury that cost him a start in spring training. The injury is nothing that the club is publicly worried about. However, any type of injury to a pitcher of Jimenez's ilk is something that has to be a concern.
If the injury to Jimenez wasn't bad enough, on Saturday night, Jorge De La Rosa, the club's second best starter, was dominating the Diamondbacks. He had given up just three hits through 5.1 innings, striking out five and walking just one. Just when it seemed like nothing could stop De La Rosa, Rockies trainer Keith Dugger headed out of the dugout and to the mound.
After Dugger had spent a few seconds looking at De La Rosa's throwing hand, the lefty was on his way back to the dugout. The prognosis was a blister on the middle finger of De La Rosa's throwing hand.
The Rockies came into the season hoping that they would have as few injuries as possible. In 2010, the Rockies were in the race until the middle of September, despite losing Troy Tulowitzki for 33 games in the middle of the season, and De La Rosa for six weeks. No one will ever know where the Rockies would have finished had they remained healthy.
So as it stood after Saturday's game, the club was 1-1, but 0-for-2 in starting pitchers coming out of the game healthy. Both injuries are nothing to be overly concerned with at this point.
In fact, De La Rosa's blister was cleaned and manicured before the game was even over. However, anytime there are injuries to pitchers, there is concern that the injury will linger.
No one was expecting De La Rosa to miss a start, but Jimenez's start in Pittsburgh was in doubt. That is why the weather postponement on Sunday could end up being a big benefit to the Rockies.
Instead of Jhouyls Chacin starting on Sunday, he gets his start pushed back to Tuesday after Monday's off-day. That means each starter will get an extra day to heal.
With injuries like blisters, it is easy to think that a pitcher should just pitch through it. The problem is that a blister on the wrong part of the finger can greatly affect the way a pitcher grips his pitches.
John Thomson, a Rockies top-prospect, had his career de-railed due to lingering blister issues. Boston Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett nearly lost a full season to blister issues. One extra day to help the finger issues heal may not seem like a big deal, but it could go a long way for the Rockies pitchers.
One extra day to help the finger issues heal may not seem like a big deal, but it could go a long way for the Rockies pitchers.
So while most of the time the Rockies are wishing for April weather like they had on Friday and Saturday, the club was by no means disappointed to see the cold and snow move into the front range on Sunday.
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