Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado probably won't be back on the field anytime soon after he was diagnosed with "early onset pneumonia" on Tuesday, according to a team announcement. In a season full of countless injuries to Rockies stars, scrubs and literally almost everyone in between, this one is just another in a line of weirdness.
It definitely has some competition in the illness department. Catcher Wilin Rosario, who doesn't really catch much of anything despite his listed position, caught the flu and missed two weeks. Josh Rutledge contracted the same illness, lost 10 pounds and didn't return to the big leagues for almost a month because it took him so long to regain his strength.
The illnesses don't even begin to explain the strangeness of the Rockies' ailments.
In June, Carlos Gonzalez had a "fatty mass with tentacles" removed from his left index finger and missed a month. After appearing in only 18 more games, Gonzalez's season ended due to a knee injury that produced the following description from Rockies trainer Keith Dugger (via Nick Groke of the Denver Post):
"They ended up removing a whole bursa that was in there. There was a fat pad that was kind of beat up and tore up, they cleaned it out. And then the middle third of the patella tendon, where the actual diseased tissue was, they cut that out and sewed it back together."
Either the inside of CarGo's body is made up of spare parts of other living species or Dugger is the most unnecessarily detailed man on the face of the planet. Or maybe it's just a case of an all-out player succumbing to the effects of several years of playing at altitude. And, as far as the other stuff goes, let's face it: people get sick and miss time from work every day. Purple-clad baseball players are no exception.
Except for the fact that this year's string of abnormal health issues and DL stints is nothing new for the Rockies.
Last season, Gonzalez was hit by a line drive while standing in the on-deck circle and missed several games. The exact same thing happened to Troy Tulowitzki the year before that. Also in 2012, Jeremy Guthrie spent time on the DL after losing a fight with a bicycle and Josh Outman injured his oblique while vomiting.
It's safe to say that the Rockies have been an injury-plagued mess for pretty much the entire current decade, but no year has been worse than this one. Troy Tulowitzki, whose fragile hip fell apart in July, managed a 6-WAR season in just 91 games before undergoing a leg-related surgery for the third time since 2008. He's appeared in 91, 126, 47, 143 and 122 games in the last five seasons. Five seasons, which, by the way, have not resulted in a playoff berth for the Rockies, who reached the postseason in two of Tulo's first three big league campaigns.
Speaking of injury prone players, Brett Anderson's season is over after he underwent a back operation last month. Despite posting a 2.91 ERA during his brief time with the Rockies, there's a good chance he won't be back with the team next year; Colorado holds a $12 million option but doesn't have the financial flexibility to offer that a pitcher who has made fewer than 20 starts total since 2011.
And how about Michael Cuddyer? The 35-year-old outfielder has followed a season in which he won a batting title for the first time in his career by appearing in 40 games. Cuddyer has dealt with several ailments, the latest being a hamstring injury that he suffered while hitting for the cycle in the second game of a doubleheader on Aug. 17. Those two games and a pinch-hit appearance on Aug. 23 represented the only three contests in which Cuddyer appeared during a three-month stretch from June 5 through September 8.
With all due respect to the Rangers, who earlier this month set an MLB record for the most players used in a season, the Rockies are the kings of injury. The DL stints served by the aforementioned key players plus Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood, Jordan Lyles, Justin Morneau, Tommy Kahnle, Boone Logan -- the list goes on and on -- have completely killed a promising start that saw the Rockies go 27-23 through their first 50 games. And the worst part? Nothing that could happen from now until the end of this season -- and maybe even until the end of eternity -- would be a surprise to those who follow the team. A few examples:
OK, maybe that last one would come as a surprise, but you know what I mean.