Rockies’ Brendan Rodgers sustains hamstring injury in breakout season

Brendan Rodgers’ breakout season is nearing its end. In fact, a left hamstring injury might have ended his season already.

But even if the Rockies’ second baseman should miss the final 16 games of the season, there’s no question that he’s made significant improvement, especially in the field. Rodgers was scheduled to undergo an MRI either Monday night or Tuesday.

“There quite a few things I accomplished, and there are some things I can do better, but overall I made strides, no question,” Rodgers said Monday before the Rockies’ opened their final homestand at Coors Field by hosting the Giants.

Rodgers was removed from Sunday’s game against the Cubs prior to the second inning. Rodgers pulled up limping as he neared the first-base bag when he grounded out to second in the first inning.

“We’ll look at the MRI and see exactly what we have,” manager Bud Black said Monday. “He’s a little sore and he’ll be down at least a couple of days. … Whether there’s enough time for this to heal and allow him to play at the level he wants to play at, without further potential injury, only time will tell.”

Last season, Rodgers suffered a right hamstring strain during spring training on March 13 and did not rejoin the big-league club until May 21. He ended up playing in 102 games. The current injury is not nearly as severe.

“It’s not even close,” Rodgers said. “That one at spring training popped. This one just kind of grabbed me and it was more of a precaution to take me out. I want to make sure I don’t have a huge, major injury right before the season ends. Doogie (team trainer Keith Dugger) feels like it’s in the muscle, not the tendon. But we’ll take some pictures and see where we’re at.”

Rodgers, who’s played shortstop for much of his career, has worked hard to make the transition to second base. The work is paying off.

“The routine play is so critical and a lot of people take that for granted,” Black said. “But I think he’s done a really good job of making that play, day in and day out, with no hiccups. Not an error here or an error there. So the concentration to make the everyday play has become evident, to me.”

According to the Fielding Bible’s defensive metrics, Rodgers has been one of the majors’ best players, accounting for 21 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). That leads all National League second basemen.

“I had a couple of bad weeks with the glove where I made some errors, but over the last month or two I haven’t made too many mistakes,” Rodgers said. “There might have been a few double plays that I bobbled and we only got one out. But there haven’t been too many of those.

“My range has gotten better and my arm has stayed healthy. Coming off of shoulder surgery (in July 2020) a lot of people kind of doubted that I could come back from such a major surgery. But I look at this as a pretty successful year.”

According to Black, Rodgers has improved on plays in which he has to go to his right.

“That’s the play where, for any shortstop who moves to second, it’s the most difficult,” Black said. “Going to his left, I don’t want to say it’s been easy, but it’s come more natural for him.”

Black added, however, that there are instances where Rodgers needs to learn to plant his feet and make a throw.

“There are plays where Brandan should catch the ball, plant his feet and make a firm throw,” Black said. “As opposed to making every single play to his right, on the run, while making the throw.”

Bryant takes BP. Left fielder Kris Bryant, who’s played in only 42 games this season because of injuries, took batting practice Monday for the first time since he went on the injured list Aug. 1 with plantar fasciitis of his left left foot. Bryant has been hitting in the cage and ran in the outfield during the Rockies’ series at Chicago over the weekend.

It remains to be seen if Bryant will be healthy enough to play in the final stage of the season.

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