Rockies’ Trevor Story slumping, but says pressure of trade rumors, free agency is not the cause

This has not been the season Rockies shortstop Trevor Story expected.

Not only is his team on pace to lose 100 games, but the two-time all-star has not performed up to his own expectations.

He entered Monday night’s game vs. San Diego mired in his second slump of the season. He went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts (twice looking) in Colorado’s 6-2 loss at Cincinnati on Sunday.

Since coming off the injured list June 10, he was 1-for-14. Prior to going on the IL, he had hit 12-for-58 (.207) with one home run, two doubles and just three RBIs over 15 games.

“Knowing that, basically, baseball is a game of ups and downs, I feel good about where I’m at and getting back on track,” said Story, who entered Monday’s game batting .242, his worst mark since April 9.

There is a lot on Story’s plate this season. Although he’s only 28, Story, along with 34-year-old outfielder Charlie Blackmon, is shouldering the weight of leadership on a young, inexperienced team.

Just as heavy is Story’s contract status. He’s scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season and all indications are that he will not re-sign with Colorado. That reality has led to swirling trade rumors.

Story, however, said that he’s not feeling the pressure of the business side of baseball.

“Naturally, you know what the circumstances are,” Story said. “Almost every year is a contract year. You’re playing baseball on those terms — a lot. So this is not the first time. So I wouldn’t say that there is added pressure. I just want to play better to help my teammates and play better to help win games.”

Story admitted that the stint on the IL might have thrown him out of rhythm a little bit.

“It’s just a matter of finding that game-timing again and getting comfortable,” he said. “I try to detach myself from the (statistics) and make it about the process. It’s something where I feel like if I can master that, and if I feel good about my process, the results will come.”

Manager Bud Black said “it’s a little bit unusual” for a player of Story’s caliber to go through two funks in the first half of the season, but added, “We can probably go through a list of great players right now who are going through slumps. Hopefully, Trevor can snap out of it tonight.”

Naturally, Story had an RBI single in the third inning.

Gray’s day. Right-hander Jon Gray, on the injured list since leaving a June 4 game in the third inning with a right forearm flexor strain, threw his first bullpen session Monday. He threw all of his pitches in the 35-pitch session.

“It was solid,” Gray said. “Everything felt really good.”

But when Gray’s elbow first began hurting, he admitted it scared him a bit.

“My velocity was up that day, and that’s when it started hurting, so that concerned me,” Gray said. “But when I got the MRI back and found out there was nothing serious going on there, it made me feel a lot better.”

The plan is for Gray to throw to batters Wednesday and then see what the next step will be.

“I didn’t really push it all the way today, so we’ll have to see the next time out,” he said. “Maybe there will be another side after that, and then maybe a (minor league) rehab assignment. We’ll have to see.”

Gray said he hopes to join the Rockies’ rotation before the end of June.

On Deck
Padres RHP Yu Darvish (6-2, 2.28 ERA) at RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-4, 5.74)
6:40 p.m. Tuesday, Coors Field
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM

Gonzalez is coming off one of the worst starts of his career. He allowed career highs in runs (eight), hits (11) and home runs (three) in just five innings in a loss at Miami. Gonzalez, who has temporarily replaced the injured Jon Gray in the rotation, has pitched well at Coors Field, going 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in five home games. He faced the Padres on May 19 at Petco Park, giving up two homers in four innings. Darvish is coming off an excellent performance against the Cubs, but the Padres lost, 3-1. Darvish, who facing the Cubs for the first time since he was acquired by San Diego in December, allowed two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out eight. Against, Colorado, he’s 1-3 with a 3.47 ERA in seven starts. In three starts at Coors Field, Darvish is 0-1 with a 5.52 ERA.

Trending: Infielder/outfielder Garrett Hampson entered Monday night’s game tied for third in the National League with 12 stolen bases, and tied for second in the majors with four triples.

At issue: Although catcher Elias Diaz has raised his batting average from .109 to .146, he’s continued to fail in clutch-hitting situations. Diaz entered Monday’s game batting .057 (2-for-35) with runners in scoring position.

Pitching Probables
Wednesday: LHP Blake Snell (2-3, 4.97) at LHP Kyle Freeland (0-2, 9.00), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM
Thursday: Brewers RHP Brandon Woodruff (5-2, 1.52) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (4-6, 4.60), ATTRM, 6:40 p.m.
Friday: Brewers RHP Corbin Burnes (3-2, 2.27) at Rockies Antonio Senzatela (2-7, 4.86), 6:40 p.m., ATTRM

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