Another Colorado Rockies player is heading the disabled list (which has to be two pages long at this point) and it's a familar face. First baseman/outfielder Michael Cuddyer had just come off the DL last Thursday (August 16) after finally healing from a strained oblique abdominal muscle he had injured back in July. His first game back was on Thursday in which he actually hit a home run and looked pretty good. As a precaution the Rockies gave him the day off on Friday, but in the end it didn't matter. In his third at-bat of the game on Saturday, Cuddyer re-injured the same area as he took a swing and was later pulled from the game after the pain became too much.
This type of physical breakdown was exactly what I was worried about when the Rockies grabbed Cuddyer off of free agency this past offseason. The Rockies committed $31.5 million over a three-year period to a 33-year-old who had hit just .284 with 20 home runs the year before with the Minnesota Twins. That's a lot of money for someone who was going to have to come into the higher altitudes of Coors Field and play in a fairly expansive right field.
He certainly started off very strongly for the Rockies (batting .408 after 13 games and .299 at the end of April). He was an excellent example and leader to the younger players when he got here with the way he played the game. I loved watching him charge around the base paths, attempting to turn singles into doubles despite his questionable speed. Many times fans cheered him on when he raced after fly balls in the outfield. Many times he hit the turf hard diving for balls that (honestly) a faster player would have caught (although sometimes he did). I loved the guy for his "Charlie Hustle" work ethic, but there was just no way he could keep that up playing here in Coors Field at his age.
He hung in there through the month of May, and finished that month batting .282. But by June his numbers began to tail off as he clearly started to tire, and he finished the month batting .257. It didn't help that the team around him struggled from the start. Cuddyer batted sixth in the batting order mots of the time behind Troy Tulowitzki (fourth) and Todd Helton (fifth) over those first few months of the season. I truly believe his numbers could have been much better had those players had better seasons at the plate.
Then Tulowitzki and Helton got hurt. If the Rockies had any thought of trying to give Cuddyer more rest so that he could try and rebound the last part of the season, their injuries prevented that. The Rockies simply needed Cuddyer at first base and his bat in the lineup. They needed his leadership in the dugout even more. Ultimately Cuddyer's 33-year-old body simply couldn't hold up to the strain. The fact that this is a repetitive injury indicates to me that it was never fully healed in the first place. It would not surprise me if the Rockies shut down Cuddyer for a far longer period this time to really make sure that the abdomen is healed this time. This late in the season, it could result in him losing the rest of the year. Rockies fans need to be prepared for the fact that they may seen the last of Cuddyer at Coors Field this season.
Julie is a lifelong baseball fan who has been writing articles about the Colorado Rockies for the Yahoo Contributor Network for the past year. She's been a fan of the Rockies since moving to Colorado in 2001.