Injuries to factor heavily into Rockies' roster

Injuries to factor heavily into Rockies' roster

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- We did a Rockies Opening Day roster prediction a few weeks ago, with the warning that injuries do and will happen. Camp has lived up to that guarantee (although the need for pitcher Chad Bettis to undergo chemotherapy for testicular cancer is not what anyone expects or wants), so it's time to take a fresh look at how manager Bud Black's first Rockies roster could look April 3 at Milwaukee.

Tony Wolters, Dustin Garneau
Wolters had a bout with a hyperextended right elbow early in camp, but is healthy. Garneau, a solid-throwing receiver, was challenging with a strong offensive spring. Then power-hitting rookie Tom Murphy suffered a hairline fracture of the right forearm.

Garneau's three-run home run

First base
Mark Reynolds, Jordan Patterson
Ian Desmond, beginning a five-year, $70 million contract, was hit on the left hand by a pitch and is gone for four to six weeks. That means Reynolds, a non-roster invitee, steps in. Patterson has been solid this spring, and has experience in the outfield. Stephen Cardullo also has hit for power and has experience at the position, but is a non-roster invitee who can be retained. The big question is switch-hitting Cristhian Adames, who has been displaced as the middle-infield backup. He seems to be developing power, but there may not be room and he is out of Minor League options. If he doesn't make the final cut, the Rockies could retain him and develop him as a pinch-hitter.

Second base
DJ LeMahieu
He'll follow up on a batting title last year, and will continue his career of solid defense.

LeMahieu on playing second base

Third base
Nolan Arenado
He hasn't hit for average at the World Baseball Classic, but the intensity of games should help him prepare for the season.

Trevor Story
He has hit for power again this spring. Last year, a powerful spring led to a history-making start to his rookie year.

Alexi Amarista
Offense has been a struggle throughout his career and the issues have continued this spring. But in 2014 in regular duty at shortstop with the Padres, under Black, Amarista earned seven Defensive Runs Saved. Story missed the final two months last season with a hand injury, and the Rockies didn't have anyone who could provide defense at Amarista's level.

Amarista on reuniting with Black

Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, Gerardo Parra, Chris Denorfia
David Dahl nursed back issues throughout the spring. All that did was give Parra time to hone his improved swing. Denorfia has provided right-handed hitting, speed and positional versatility this spring. Patterson and Amarista also can move into the outfield.

Starting rotation
Jon Gray, Tyler Chatwood, Tyler Anderson, Antonio Senzatela, Kyle Freeland -- Senzatela made just seven Double-A Hartford starts last year, but he is showing Major League stuff and maturity. Freeland didn't receive a call to the Majors last year, as the Rockies were monitoring his innings load after an injury-filled 2015. He has been solid for three consecutive outings. Righties Jeff Hoffman and German Marquez are having strong sequences. If there is room in the bullpen, Black isn't opposed to having one of them work in relief to start the year.

Freeland on nerves, command

Greg Holland (closer), Adam Ottavino, Mike Dunn, Carlos Estevez, Jake McGee, Jordan Lyles, Jason Motte, Chris Rusin/Jeff Hoffman
If Holland, who missed last season with Tommy John surgery, continues to progress the way he has this spring, he can anchor a late bullpen that has potential to be strong. If Rusin can't return from an oblique injury by the opener, it would give Black the chance to carry Hoffman or Marquez. Righty Chad Qualls is battling right forearm soreness. Estevez has the heavy fastball, but righty Scott Oberg, with a fastball-slider combination, is presenting a challenge.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.