The Rockies announced that they have reinstated Chris Bryant from the injured list. Ashton Goudeauwho was optioned after Thursday’s game without a corresponding move, has been recalled to serve as the 27th man for today’s doubleheader.
Signed to a massive seven-year, $182MM contract in the offseason, Bryant immediately became the face of the franchise in Denver. His tenure in that position got off to a bit of a slow start, as he hit .281/.338/.351 for an 85 wRC+ in his first 15 games as a Rockie, though it’s possible his production was being squeezed by the back soreness that ultimately landed him on the injured list.
It was thought to be a relatively minor issue with the possibility of Bryant returning after the 10-day minimum stint on the IL, though it ended up taking over three weeks for him to return. It was reported a few days ago that mere rest was n’t taking care of the issue, with Bryant eventually receiving a cortisone shot to help his recovery.
Although capable of playing multiple positions, Bryant has only been slotted into left field on days where he took the field so far this year, along with three starts at designated hitter. Since Bryant’s absence, the left field playing time has been spread around to Connor Joe, Sam Hilliard and Yonathan Daza. Joe and Daza have both been hitting well on the season so far, with Joe putting up a batting line of .278/.368/.436 for a wRC+ of 119, while Daza’s line is .375/.425/.431, 134 wRC+. Hilliard, however, has slumped to a .159/.268/.304 performance, amounting to a 54 wRC+. Based on those numbers, he seems to be the one most likely to be squeezed out by Bryant’s return.
Despite Bryant’s mediocre start to the year, the club was faring better when he was around. They went 12-9 in April but have a 6-10 record thus far in May. Although just a hair under .500 at 18-19, they are currently in the bottom of the NL West, arguably the strongest division in baseball.