Rockies’ Carlos Estevez says hand injury led to struggles in 2020
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — One of the biggest mysteries of the Rockies’ poor 2020 season might have an answer.
Right-handed reliever Carlos Estevez said Friday that his struggles were tied to an injury he suffered Aug. 16 when a comebacker bruised the back of his right hand.
The hard-throwing Estevez, who was counted on to be an integral part of the bullpen, finished the season with a 7.50 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP. Overall, the Rockies’ bullpen posted a 6.77 ERA, the highest for a single season in franchise history.
“I lost my slider and I was getting an impingement in my fingers every once in a while while I was throwing,” Estevez said. “I would throw three good pitches and then the next two I would have, like a shock down my fingers. It was pretty tough.”
In the Aug. 16 game at Coors Field against Texas, a line drive off the bat of Scott Heineman drilled Estevez in the hand and he was in obvious pain. The Rockies were initially concerned Estevez might have suffered a broken hand but X-rays were negative.
At first, the injury did not seem to negatively affect Estevez. He pitched four scoreless outings in a row, whittling his ERA down to 2.25. After that, however, batters started pummeling the right-hander. He went 0-3 with an 18.00 ERA over his last 11 appearances. Five of the six home runs he allowed in 2020 came in his last nine games.
“My day was really long and I had to get to the field early to get a heat pack on my hand and get a massage to get the fluid down,” Estevez said, explaining his routine after suffering the injury. “My hand was always swollen.”
Estevez still has a knot on the back of his hand but said the pain is gone.
Estevez said that the injury affected his ability to locate both his fastball and slider.
“I wasn’t (able) to go to the spots that I usually go to,” he said.