DENVER — Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant admitted on Saturday that returning from a right foot injury for a few games at the end of the season is not “in the cards.”
In the first season of a seven-year $182 million contract, Bryant, 30, appeared in just 42 games, with a back injury costing him much of the first half. Then came the combination of plantar fasciitis and a bone bruise in his right foot after the All-Star break. Bryant last played on July 31. He finished with a .306 batting average, five home runs (all on the road), and 14 RBI’s.
The decision to close it before 2022 was expected, especially after Bryant underwent a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection on Aug. 24. That has a longer healing time than a cortisone shot (which Bryant used to recover from the back injury). The good news, Bryant said, is that he’s running into baseball peaks faster than he expected.
“The goal was to end the year with striders, with about 30% with the movement — and I’m running for that, which is good,” Bryant said. “I wanted to get as close to playing a game as possible because then I can formulate an offseason approach that is better.
“If we were in the playoff chase, I probably would have pushed through and got a cortisone shot. The PRP is more healing, while cortisone masks the pain.”
The Rockies signed Bryant during the fast-paced, post-lockout Spring Training in the hopes that his might could ignite the lineup and at least give the team enough playoff relevance to be a Trade Deadline buyer. . But with a thin selection, almost everything should have gone well.
The Rockies finished 20-22 in games Bryant played — 18-15 before the All-Star break. Poor pitching, lack of depth and Bryant’s declining health contributed to the Rockies’ nosedive in the early second half of the season.
“I handled it the best I could,” Bryant said. “It’s a bit depressing, just not playing baseball. Coming to a team and signing a deal sucks not being there. Every year, from February to October, I’m used to playing baseball. And for the biggest share this year , I watched.
“I’m really looking forward to next year. I know what to expect and feel comfortable with the guys. It was really cool to see the younger guys get a chance. [Shortstop Ezequiel] Tovar and all these guys are getting a chance.”
Bryant said the words of a mentor and former Cubs teammate, pitcher John Lackey, helped him come to terms with a wasted year in a city he wanted to live in, a city he felt he was happy to see.
“Everyone I’ve talked to, who I just ran into on the street, was excited to see me and told me how excited they are to see me play,” Bryant said. “But when he spoke to John Lackey, he said you’re going to have years like this, and you should be grateful because that means you’ve had a really long career.
“It taught me to have the right perspective, but it’s hard.”
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