8/15/2014 1:25 A.M. ET
Communication key to emergency training for Rockies
By Cody Ulm / MLB.com
DENVER -- What would you do if an explosion were to occur in the middle of a baseball game? The Rockies now know the answer to that question thanks to the full-scale emergency exercise that took place at Coors Field on Thursday.
Denver police, firefighters and other emergency medical services were all on deck for a training session that involved between 400 to 500 volunteers.
For the reproduction, a giant smoke machine was brought in to simulate an explosion in the equipment room. But team officials had no idea what the incident would be or where it would be taking place until it occurred.
In other words, it was "as close to reality as we could make it," according to Rockies vice president of communications Jay Alves.
"I can't tell you how helpful it is to be able to do it live and not do it on a table top," Alves said. "It makes it much more real and much more effective for us."
The exercise allowed Rockies officials to practice identifying and taking control of an emergency situation from their command center located in center field. During the event, the organization ran through the proper evacuation process and even simulated some injuries.
Once emergency officials arrived, the first responders handed over full control of the situation to the authorities.
"One of the biggest things we really worked on today was communication between us and the emergency services personnel," Alves said. "It was important for them, as well as us. Just for them to see the ballpark, learn the ballpark, learn the gate numbers. ... When we say Gate B, they now know where that is."
Overall, the event took a little over an hour. All volunteers were offered tickets to an upcoming Rockies game for offering their time.
Cuddyer may be back in Rockies' lineup Saturday
DENVER -- Michael Cuddyer's long, winding rehabilitation from his fractured left shoulder looks to be coming to an end this weekend, with the Rockies expecting his return as soon as Saturday.
Cuddyer hasn't played since the injury occurred on a diving, defensive attempt at third on June 5, but he'll be making his final rehab start Thursday with Double-A Tulsa before heading back to Colorado.
"He's going to play today and tomorrow is going to be a travel day for him," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "If everything goes OK, he has a chance to be in the starting lineup for us on Saturday."
Cuddyer began his rehab assignment last Wednesday, playing five games with the Rockies' rookie affiliate in Grand Junction, Colo., before joining Tulsa on Tuesday.
In five games with Grand Junction, Cuddyer went 11-for-19 with six doubles, five runs and nine RBIs. Through his first two games with Tulsa, Cuddyer had two hits and two runs scored in seven at-bats.
With Carlos Gonzalez possibly being shut down for the season with a knee injury, Cuddyer is expected to slot into right field. As a free-agent-to-be, Cuddyer will have approximately 40 games to prove his health to an organization with which he hopes to remain.
In 31 games before sustaining a non-displaced fracture of his shoulder socket, the 2013 National League batting champion was hitting .317 (38-for-120) with five home runs and 16 RBIs.
CarGo to have surgery on left knee on Monday
DENVER -- One day after Troy Tulowitzki's season officially came to an end, the Rockies' next injury domino fell Thursday night as the team announced Carlos Gonzalez will undergo surgery on his left patella tendon on Monday.
The operation will be performed by Dr. Tom Hackett in Frisco, Colo. Expected recovery time for the surgery is five to six months and Gonzalez has been told he'll be ready in time for Spring Training.
On Thursday evening, Gonzalez sat down with the Rockies training staff as well as consulting doctors and his agent to discuss all available options. Platelet-rich plasma and stem cell treatments were also on the table, but Gonzalez said doctors informed him those procedures would only make him feel better "for a short period of time."
"Of course, this wasn't something that I was looking for, but I know we're looking for results," Gonzalez said. "We're looking to get something done so I don't have to deal with this."
Earlier in the day, Gonzalez confirmed that Wednesday's MRI showed that his knee has more damage than previously thought with increased irritation to his patella tendon. Doctors have a good idea of the damage, but they won't know all the specifics until they begin the surgery.
Gonzalez has been dealing with dealing with tendinitis in his left knee dating back to last season.
"It was hard for me to sit back and have a leg kick," said Gonzalez, who was batting a career-low.238 through 70 games. "It was even harder to hold all my weight on my back knee."
But after speaking with Ellis Burks, a former Rockie and current part-time assistant coach, Gonzalez has confidence he'll be able to regain his All-Star form post-surgery.
In 1995, Burks had the same operation performed on his knee while playing for the Rockies. The next year, he had his finest professional season with 142 runs scored, 40 home runs and 32 stolen bases.
"I talked to players that have had this done before like Ellis," Gonzalez said. "He told me the year he was suffering he had a really bad year, but he got it done and the very next year he put up big numbers … That's something that keeps me positive."
"He's going to come back with a vengence," said Burks, who finished third in National League MVP voting following his surgery.
Gonzalez was placed on the disabled list with this knee injury on Aug. 10 and he also missed more than a month earlier this season after undergoing finger surgery to remove a benign tumor in June.
In 18 games since returning from the finger injury, the former All-Star was batting .188 (12-for-64) with 25 strikeouts as he also worked through an ankle ailment on top of his knee woes.
Since his breakout campaign in 2010, Gonzalez has only been able to log more than 128 games once in a season. Although manager Walt Weiss wasn't sure of the final decision earlier in the day, he seemed resigned with Gonzalez being shut down.
"I think that everyone felt like that might be the case -- that we might not have [Tulowitzki and Gonzalez] for the rest of the season, so it's not too much of a shock," Weiss said before his club's 7-3 victory over the Reds. "We all felt like that was one of the scenarios and unfortunately, that's what it's going to be."
Cody Ulm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.