Rockies ace Germán Márquez had a feeling the news was coming.
It didn't make it any easier, though, when he and the team decided on Tuesday that he would undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his season. The procedure has not been scheduled yet, but the recovery is typically 12-18 months, putting his 2024 season at risk too.
Márquez may have already thrown his last pitch in a Rockies uniform. This is the final year of his contract, though he has a $16 million club option for 2024. The team has not spoken to him about his future yet but said that they would like to see him pitch for them again.
He is currently three strikeouts away from the franchise record and has a career ERA of 4.41.
"He's disappointed," manager Bud Black said. "He loves to pitch and be an active member of the team in so many ways beyond just being a starting pitcher for us. He knows that injuries are part of this game, and he's not immune to that. I think in far as perspective he's in a decent place."
For the past six years, Márquez has been as durable as they come, making at least 28 starts every season aside from the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He's been on the injured list twice already this year, spending 15 days on it earlier this season with right forearm inflammation.
He came back from that injury on April 26, but only made it until the fourth inning before the pain in his elbow started. Márquez said he felt 100% ready to come back from the first injury and that this current pain is different.
"I didn't feel anything before the game," Márquez said. "I felt like I was ready."
He could have tried going a nonsurgical route, such as a PRP injection, but decided to just get the surgery. There was no guarantee that PRP would fix the problem, and he risked the possibility of undergoing a lengthy recovery just for him to still need to get Tommy John at a later date.
"He has a lot of career left," Black said of Márquez, who recently turned 28. "That's going to be up to him, but I suspect that he's going to go at this full throttle."
The Rockies, though, finds themselves in a tough position. Starting pitching depth was an issue for the team last season, and the team said heading into the offseason that it was going to be a priority. The Rockies, however, signed just one starter. That was José Ureña, who has already been designated for assignment.
"We tried," Schmidt told The Denver Gazette on Tuesday when asked about their lack of moves.
That's already coming back to haunt them just one month into the season. They are down to only three of the starters they started the season with: Kyle Freeland, Austin Gomber and Ryan Feltner. The Rockies are also without Noah Davis, who was their sixth starter and top Triple-A arm. Davis, called up earlier this season, is also on the injured list with right elbow inflammation and expected to be out for at least a few weeks.
On the plus side, the team will get Antonio Senzatela — who's been out since last August after tearing his ACL — back on Friday for his season debut. They will turn to Connor Seabold to fill the spot on Thursday. Seabold has been used as only a long reliever in the majors this year.
"We'll deal with it," Schmidt said. "It'll create some opportunities for other guys. Last year at this time, we picked up Ureña. We'll look at the free agents available and try to improve our depth."
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