The Colorado Rockies will chase after a flickering playoff spot without All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado, who was placed on the injured list with a sore left shoulder.
Arenado has been hampered this season by inflammation in his AC joint, along with a bone bruise, and the team elected Monday to shut him down. Surgery isn’t required but Arenado will need about a month of rest for a shoulder ailment that first started to surface in Oakland at the start of this 60-game season.
“Definitely not feeling good and definitely bothering me. But the pain, it’s not sharp pain. It’s just pain,” said Arenado, who began feeling a nagging sensation in the shoulder after sleeping wrong. “It’s just constant pain and soreness. I think rest will do it real well. I don’t think it will linger on if I take care of it the right way, which I will.”
Although Arenado’s been his usual seven-time Gold Glove self in the field, he’s struggled at the plate. He’s hitting just .253 with eight homers and 26 RBIs.
“It just got to the point where it became too nagging,” manager Bud Black said before his team opened a four-game series in San Francisco. “He’ll be fine in about a month. This is just a short-term thing.”
The loss of the five-time All-Star is a big blow for a Rockies team trying to hang in the postseason chase after starting 11-3. They’ve gone 12-26 since Aug. 9, which is tied for the worst winning percentage in the major leagues over that span.
Colorado entered the day trailing Cincinnati, Milwaukee and San Francisco by three games for the final NL wild-card spot. The New York Mets were a half-game in front of Colorado as well.
“It’s always hard when you lose a player like Nolan,” Black said. “But it happens. It happened to us. … Guys know they have to step up when a player of Nolan’s caliber is not in the lineup.”
The plan is to use Ryan McMahon at third base. The Rockies can also turn to first baseman Josh Fuentes, who’s the cousin of Arenado.
Arenado said he would try to make it back if the team somehow got into the postseason.
“That would be an unbelievable thing to find a way to get in the playoffs and be able to come back,” said Arenado, who didn’t accompany the team on the trip. “I’m focused on getting healthy right now.”
This is only the second trip to the injured list for the durable Arenado. He was sidelined in 2014 for a broken left middle finger.
The 29-year-old Arenado made some waves over the offseason when he expressed his agitation with a front office that made no major moves despite a 71-win campaign in 2019.
Arenado agreed to a $260 million, eight-year contract in February 2019. He has an opt-out clause after the 2021 season. He knows his name could be mentioned in trade rumors during the offseason.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen next year,” Arenado said. “I’d assume there’s going to be some changes. Right now, I’m focused on getting my body back. Focused on getting stronger this offseason. This season was a learning experience — that I need to get better and need to grow as a player.”