The Rockies are placing Kris Bryant on the 10-day injured list, the team informed reporters (including Nick Groke of the Athletic). Bryant has been dogged by back soreness of late, although Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets that an MRI didn’t reveal any serious issues. That suggests it could be a fairly brief IL stay. To take Bryant’s place on the roster, corner infield prospect Elehuris Montero is being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque.
Bryant hasn’t played since Monday. His IL placement can thus be backdated to April 26; assuming that’s the case, he’d be eligible to return a week from now. Bryant has gotten off to something of a slow start to his Colorado tenure. Signed to a seven-year, $182MM deal over the offseason, he hasn’t connected on a home run through his first 15 games. Bryant owns a .281/.338/.351 line over 65 plate appearances while splitting his time between left field and designated hitter.
The Rox have turned to Connor Joe and Sam Hilliard in left over the past couple days. Joe is off to an excellent .270/.349/.514 start and is an option in the corner outfield, at first base or at DH. Hilliard could see a few more at-bats while Bryant is out, although it’s possible the Rockies use this as an opportunity to give Montero his first run.
Acquired as part of the return from the Cardinals for Nolan Arenado, Montero split the 2021 campaign between Double-A Hartford and Albuquerque. He performed well at both stops, combining for a .278/.360/.529 showing in 500 plate appearances. Montero, whom St. Louis had already selected onto their 40-man roster over the 2019-20 offseason, didn’t get a big league call. He did, however, improve his stock in the eyes of prospect evaluators.
This past winter, both FanGraphs and Baseball America slotted the 23-year-old among the ten most promising prospects in the organization. Both outlets praised his combination of bat-to-ball skills and power, although each raised questions about his defensive acumen at third base and an aggressive approach at the plate. Nevertheless, both outlets suggested he could have enough offensive upside to be an everyday player.
Montero has gotten off to a fine .288/.356/.450 start over 91 Triple-A plate appearances. The Rockies can option him back to the minors, but it stands to reason they’ll want to get a lengthy look at him against big league arms at some point soon. Montero is in his final option year, meaning Colorado will have to carry him on next season’s Opening Day roster if they don’t want to lose him to another club.