8/14/2014 12:23 A.M. ET
Despite Rox struggles, vet Hawkins hopes to return
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- At 41 years old, Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins has experienced many highs and lows while chasing what he's never grasped -- a World Series championship. But this year, he may have a new experience he didn't want.
"I know the way we started and I know a lot of the reasons our record is the way it is at this point," Hawkins said. "But does it make it any easier to stomach? No, it doesn't.
"I mean, we're at a pace to lose 100 games. I haven't done that yet."
At 46-73 going into Wednesday afternoon's finale of a three-game series with the Padres, with much of the Rockies' star power -- shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielders Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer -- on the disabled list, triple digits in the "L" column is possible. Hawkins said the older you are, the tougher the season is.
"A lot of young guys, it's their first time in the big leagues and they're trying to pave their own way," Hawkins said. "They're just trying to find their way. It is definitely learning on the job, and it's the best experience you can get.
"But it's tough on the coaches -- manager, pitching coaches, base coaches, GMs. As a veteran, it's tough."
The consensus from manager Walt Weiss to the coaches to the players who have big league experience is the effort isn't the problem. Much of the problem is executing situations, and there are serious talent deficiencies. There is also a hard-to-measure toughness that a team can rely on to be competitive when things are bad. Is there enough toughness on the current roster?
"That's a tough question," Hawkins said. "When the stars on the team are tough, that oozes out to the rest of the team. And I'm not saying our guys aren't tough, because they are, but they're not around. These guys don't get to see Tulo go out and do what he does best, CarGo at his best. They're having to watch guys from afar, as opposed to watching their guy on their team.
"It's like you and I are on a boat and there are 12 holes in the bottom. All we've got between us is four feet and four hands, and the four holes left are sinking us."
But Hawkins believes a healthy team next year can make a turnaround, much like the Twins did in the early part of his career. He was a member of the Twins in 2000 when they lost 93 games. But the next year they finished second in the American League Central, and the following year they made the AL Championship Series. Much of that depends on whether younger players learn from this year's mistakes.
Hawkins would like to be part of it. The Rockies hold a $2.5 million option for 2015, and the fact he wasn't traded at the non-waiver Trade Deadline suggests that the club wants to bring him back. Despite few opportunities because leads have been rare, Hawkins has upheld his end. He is 2-2 with a 2.93 ERA and 18 saves in 19 chances.
"I haven't been told anything about the option, but it's fine, business," Hawkins said. "But do I want to come back? Yeah. This is the organization where I had my best season as a team. I'd like to repeat that here.
"Do I think our team was better this year [before injuries] than in '07 [a surprise World Series trip]? I definitely think so. But in '07 we only had a couple injuries, and we had guys step up and we didn't miss a beat."
Decision coming on CarGo's season
SAN DIEGO -- A Wednesday MRI on the left knee of Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has revealed more damage than a previous look, so Gonzalez will consult with the team's training staff and doctors Thursday before deciding on a treatment plan.
Gonzalez has suffered from left knee tendinitis since last season, and he was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday after seeing his effectiveness dwindle recently. Dr. Thomas Hackett of Frisco, Colo., saw Gonzalez Wednesday and performed the MRI.
Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said options include surgery or treatments such as plasma-rich platelets or stem-cell therapy. Any option other than rest and rehab will cost Gonzalez the remainder of the season. Hackett, Rockies medical director Dr. Thomas J. Noonan, Dugger and Rockies rehab coordinator Scott Murayama will participate in the consultation.
"It did show some changes from his previous MRI on his patella tendon, meaning that it is getting worse," Dugger said. "The irritation to the area is a little worse off than it was when we did one earlier in the year."
It was more bad injury news for the Rockies, who also announced Wednesday that shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a tear in his left hip labrum.
The knee is one of many pains Gonzalez, 28, has experienced this season.
Coming off a 2013 that saw his effectiveness and availability reduced because of a right middle finger ligament strain suffered in July, Gonzalez was preparing for this season when he suffered an appendicitis attack in January.
From the start of Spring Training, Gonzalez battled pain and swelling in his left index finger, and on June 10 he underwent surgery to remove a large but benign tumor. The surgery cost him 35 games. From his July 11 return to Friday night, when he struck out three times in a 5-3 loss to the D-backs and was removed before game's end, Gonzalez batted .188 (12-for-64) with three home runs, seven RBIs and 25 strikeouts.
Additionally, the last two weeks Gonzalez was active he played with a twisted right ankle -- an injury originally suffered in a fall at home but aggravated when he slid to make a catch in foul ground in Detroit on Aug. 1.
Gonzalez missed some starts early in the season with a right calf contusion after fouling a pitch off his leg.
While going through all of the on-field pains, Gonzalez spent much of his time away from the field at a local hospital. His wife, Indonesia, was going through a difficult pregnancy. The couple welcomed twin girls, Carlota and Genova, on June 13. They were born at just 30 weeks. Genova came home after a brief hospital stay, but Carlota did not come home until Friday.
In addition to Tulowitzki, the Rockies have lost right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood (Tommy John surgery) and left-handed pitcher Brett Anderson (who will undergo surgery to repair a bulging disk in his back Thursday in Phoenix) for the season. Right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin (right rotator cuff and labrum damage) has begun throwing but it's unlikely he'll return.
That's three-fifths of the rotation plus two All-Star position players. Also, outfielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer, last year's National League batting champion and an All-Star Game participant, has missed the last 57 games with a fracture in his left shoulder socket. Cuddyer, who missed 25 games early in the season with a left hamstring strain, is playing rehab games and could be back soon.
The injuries are at the top of the list of problems that have sunk the Rockies to 46-74, the Majors' worst record.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.