Michael Cuddyer leaves game after getting hit by pitch

USA TODAY Sports

Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer left his team's spring training game on Wednesday afternoon after getting hit in the shoulder by a pitch from Jeff Samardzija.

Colorado Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer was forced to leave his club's spring training game on Wednesday after getting hit in the shoulder by a pitch, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

Cuddyer was hit by a pitch from Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija in the third inning of their game. He initially stayed in, but was removed from the game for precautionary reasons after losing feeling in his left hand. It doesn't appear that Cuddyer suffered any type of serious injury, though the outfielder is scheduled to be examined further later on Wednesday.

A couple of Rockies players are already struggling with injuries early in spring training. First baseman Justin Morneau is being held out with a stiff neck, while second baseman Josh Rutledge has a sprained left ankle.

Cuddyer led the National League in hitting last year, batting .331/.389/.530 with 20 home runs and 84 RBI during his second season in Colorado. The 34-year-old posted a career-high in batting average and reached the 20-home run plateau for the fourth time in his career. The 13-year veteran arrived in Colorado in 2012, when he hit .260/.317/.489 in his first campaign for the Rockies, after spending 11 seasons with the Twins.

The Rockies do have plenty of outfield depth behind Cuddyer, including Drew Stubbs, Charlie Blackmon, Brandon Barnes, and Corey Dickerson to go along with returning starter Carlos Gonzalez. Yet Cuddyer's absence, if it spans into the regular season, would be a big loss for the Rockies lineup.

At this point, though, the injury doesn't appear too serious, and the Rockies will likely be cautious with Cuddyer regardless. Colorado's first regular season game is on March 31 against the Marlins, so the right-handed slugger does have plenty of time to nurse any potential injury.

The Rockies will hope to receive good news about Cuddyer later on Wednesday, and if they are going to improve on their last place finish in the AL West this season, they will need a healthy Cuddyer.

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