The Rockies did not officially announce that they would keep Hirsh out the rest of the season. Hirsh revealed so Monday. The Rockies could have used Hirsh in the final month of the season as they try to make the playoffs with a starting rotation minus three Opening Day starters.
Hirsh suffered the injury in the first inning of an Aug. 7 game against the Brewers on a line drive from J.J. Hardy, the second batter of the game. Hirsh continued to pitch and went six scoreless innings. The following day, an X-ray revealed a fractured fibula.
Hirsh had already spent almost a month on the disabled list after he sprained his right ankle July 2 against the Mets. He was in his second start since that injury when he got hit by the line drive.
Hirsh, who finished his rookie season 5-7 with a 4.81 ERA, pitched well in his final three starts as he developed confidence in his fastball. He got the win in both his injury-riddled starts -- both quality starts.
"I was bummed out," he said. "I was crushed. Obviously, nobody wants to have someone tell them that their season's cut short. I was really starting to feel good at the end of the year, really started to make a push to have some solid outings and then obviously those two injuries derailed me, but I'm over it now.
"It'll be more fuel for me in the offseason to come back a 180-200-inning guy next year."
Without Hirsh, Aaron Cook and Rodrigo Lopez, the Rockies' patched-together staff has performed admirably. Ubaldo Jimenez has been brilliant in his last three starts. Franklin Morales, 21, has showed flashes of his potential, and Elmer Dessens has left three of his four starts with a lead.
Hirsh, meanwhile, has had to watch his replacements from afar as he tried to push for a return.
"It's been driving me absolutely bonkers," he said. "When they're here, I'm OK because I can be part of the team. But when they're on the road and I have to watch the game on TV, I get upset, just because I can't be there. I can't physically be part of the team and that's what kills me the most."
Rockies backup catcher Chris Iannetta will play in the Dominican Winter League this offseason after an up-and-down rookie season. He has not signed with a team yet, but he's received interest from the Licey Tigers, whom Jimenez played for last season.
Iannetta, who started Monday, said he asked the Rockies for permission to play in the league during the middle of the season when he was starting rarely and struggling offensively.
"It was something [where] I knew the role that I was in that I needed to get some at-bats and that would be a perfect way to do it," he said.
After starting the season hitting .179 in 51 games, the Rockies sent Iannetta to Triple-A Colorado Springs to find his swing. Since his Aug. 26 return, he's gone 7-for-14 with a double, a home run and three RBIs. He's hoping that progression continues this winter.
"It's a really good league, really good pitching," he said. "It'd be great to get some experience and get some at-bats against some good pitching."
Catcher Edwin Bellorin was activated from the disabled list Monday and will serve as the Rockies' third-string catcher the rest of the season.
"We just need a third catcher to put our second catcher in play," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's able to do some things, but we'd much rather get him out playing, but we don't have that option right now."
Bellorin strained his left hamstring running to first base in his first big league at-bat on Aug. 7.
"I am really excited for that," he said. "I'm so happy. I'm ready to play. ... I'm going to start over again. I come back today and this is my first day in the big leagues. So I'm going to start over again."
The Rockies will officially add right-handed pitcher Denny Bautista, lefty Dan Serafini and second baseman Omar Quintanilla to their active roster Tuesday. They'll also call up Morales to start Tuesday against the Giants.
Space for Serafini, who is not on the 40-man roster, will most likely be made by moving Hirsh or Cook to the 60-day disabled list.
Serafini started the year in the Japanese League, and the former first-round Draft pick of the Twins has not pitched in the Majors since 2003 with the Reds. In 11 games and three starts with the Sky Sox, he went 0-1 with a 3.48 ERA.
Bautista had a 2.92 ERA with 63 strikeouts this season in 51 relief appearances for the Triple-A Sky Sox. He pitched in four games and started one for the Rockies last season with a 5.40 ERA.
Quintanilla has played in 15 games this season for the Rockies and hit .242 with two RBIs and five runs scored.
The Rockies resume a three-game series with the Giants on Tuesday at Coors Field at 6:35 p.m. MT. Morales (0-2, 4.40 ERA) gets his second straight start against the Giants. He'll go against Tim Lincecum (7-4, 3.94 ERA).