Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela tears ACL in left knee, out for rest of season


The Rockies, already hobbled by a thin starting rotation, were bracing for bad news about starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela. They got it on Friday.

The right-hander has a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee and will be out for the rest of the season. Manager Bud Black said Senzatela will undergo surgery at some point in the next two weeks.

Black said the hope is that Senzatela will be able to begin pitching again in six to eight months.

It’s a devastating blow for a team that touted its starting pitching as a strength before the season only to see it underperform as the Rockies slid into the National League West basement with a 51-69 record. Entering Friday night’s game against San Francisco, Colorado starters had a combined 5.26 ERA, the second-highest in the majors. Only Washington’s 6.01 ERA was worse.

“It’s unfortunate, especially to happen to a guy like ‘Senza’,” left-hander Kyle Freeland said. “I mean, for it to happen to anybody, it sucks. But, you know, an injury like that, it really stinks. We’re losing a core member of our starting staff and he’s got a long road ahead of him.”

Senzatela was injured Thursday during the second inning of the Rockies’ 13-0 loss at St. Louis when he tried to cover first base on Brendan Donovan’s infield single to Elehuris Montero. Senzatela pulled up lame and crumpled to the ground in obvious pain, clutching his knee.

Senzatela, 27, is in the first season of a five-year, $50.5 million contract. He’s had an up-and-down season but entered Thursday’s game on a good run, having pitched four quality starts and reducing his ERA from 4.98 to 4.67.

“I think he’s a very solid major league starting pitcher,” manager Bud Black said when asked to evaluate Senzatela at this point in his career. “He has the ability to keep his team in games, every fifth day. He’s working on a few things. We’ve talked about the curveball and changeup coming into play more. I think that’s going to be a focus for him, on his return.”

Losing Senzatela, Colorado’s No. 3 starter, puts the club in a bind, now and going forward.

For now, right-handers German Marquez, Jose Urena, Ryan Feltner, and Freeland, a lefty, will make up the rotation. Lefty Austin Gomber and right-hander Chad Kuhl will compete for the fifth spot.

Kuhl, who’s been on the 15-day injured list with a right hip flexor, is scheduled to pitch a rehab game with Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday and then might rejoin the Rockies’ rotation. Gomber, who was demoted to the bullpen and has been used as a long reliever, is still a work in progress as he looks to get right.


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