Rockies Face Challenges As Mid-Season Approaches, Injuries, Struggles Adding Up

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Two weeks and 13 games removed from the four-day All-Star Break, and the Rockies are trying to overcome the in-season aches, pains and injuries in a bid to maintain their presence in the battle for a third consecutive post-season invitation.

In the latest roster adjustment on Sunday, the Rockies called up infielder/outfielder Garrett Hampson, and sent starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman to Triple-A Albuquerque, leading to questions about who will step into Hoffman's spot in the rotation on Tuesday at San Francisco.

The likely candidate to move into the rotation on Tuesday would be Chi Chi Gonzalez, a former first-round draft choice of the Rangers who is in the rotation with Triple-A Albuquerque. His scheduled day to start is Tuesday.

He is 4-5 with a 5.66 ERA in 14 starts with the Isotopes, but in his last eight starts has allowed three or fewer runs six times.

Kyle Freeland's name initially surfaced, but he made his scheduled start at Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday, and then was ejected after 2 2/3 innings by the first base umpire, following a bases-loaded walk that forced in a run for Reno.

But that's not all that has been shaken up for the Rockies.

Check out the starting lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Dodgers, who on Saturday afternoon ran their winning streak against the Rockies to 10 games.

Brendan Rodgers was at shortstop in place of Trevor Story, who is on the Injured List with a sprained right thumb. Hampson was in centerfielder in place of Ian Desmond. And Pat Valaika was at third base in place of Nolan Arenado, who is battling a sore big toe on his left foot.

Oh, and Raimel Tapia was in left field because David Dahl was moved to right field in place of Charlie Blackmon, who had his streak of 31 consecutive games of reaching base end on Saturday.

Manager Bud Black told the media in Los Angeles during his pre-game media session on Sunday that the Rockies are "a little banged up."

The Rockies arrived in Los Angeles fresh off a three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks, having moved atop the NL wild-card standings. So far, however, little has gone right for them at Dodger Stadium. On Friday night, Dodger rookie Matt Beaty delivered a two-run, walk-off home run in a 4-2 Dodgers victory, and on Saturday, after Beaty singled home a game-tying run in the eighth inning, Alex Verdugo provided a walk-off home run in the 11th ining of a 5-4 Dodgers victory.

Hampson, who opened the season on the Rockies roster, is back in the big leagues for the third time this year. He has hit .186 with 11 runs scored, two doubles, a triple and a home run with six RBI, six walks and 27 strikeouts in 33 games. In 26 games at Albuquerque he has hit .266 with seven stolen bases.

Hoffman has made seven starts in two stints with the Rockies this year, going 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA. He is 3-3 with a 7.57 ERA in seven appearances, six starts, for the Isotopes.

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