Apr 12, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Corey Dickerson (6) singles in the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Colorado Rockies left fielder Corey Dickerson left Monday’s game against the Padres early, and now we know why: he’s dealing with plantar fasciitis.
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Corey Dickerson left the Rockies’ 14-3 blowout loss to the Padres abruptly after his third-inning ground out against Friars hurler Odrisamer Despaigne.
According to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, Dickerson has been dealing with the issue in his left heel for some time before Monday’s game. The third-inning flare-up was enough to shelve him for the rest of the cold night at Coors Field.
From Saunders, on the most troubling news in the Rockies’ disappointing loss:
"It was the news that left fielder Corey Dickerson, looking primed to build on his breakout 2014 season, has plantar fasciitis in his left foot. He’s been trying to play through it, but the pain forced him to leave Monday’s game after his at-bat in the third inning.“Dickerson has been dealing with some planter fasciitis and after that at-bat he came out of the box and that thing bit him,” manager Walt Weiss said.Asked if he had a sense of how bad the injury might be, Weiss said: “It’s been mild up to this point. He’s been dealing with it, but it hasn’t been a major issue. But coming out of the box, he felt it.”"
As a guy who ran more than 3,000 miles in 2013 and another 1,800 in 2014 (yeah, I know, do the math), I can tell you that plantar fasciitis ain’t no joke. It’s usually nagging and sometimes dull, but with pain spikes that make it very difficult to do anything physically demanding on certain days.
Saunders has a pretty good run down of it in his piece for the Post, and while it typically affects runners (or those overweight) because of heel and arch issues, it can sneak up on anyone who puts a lot of pressure on their feet or is very active.
Saunders is also right that this is the most troubling news of the loss on Monday night. It’d be one thing to have a player break a wrist (like the Mets had happen… twice) and have the team understand he’ll be out for a certain number of weeks.
A broken bone, a ligament surgery, hell, even a PED suspension – those are issues with (more or less) consistent timetables for recovery based on healing and rehabilitation programs. But plantar fasciitis is a different kind of danger for an everyday sport like baseball, because it’s nagging and inconsistent.
Now that it’s afflicted Dickerson, the pain may not fully cease until the offseason that’s, oh, just 150 games away. He may take a few days off to let it calm down, but it’ll be right beneath the surface ready to jump up again a week from now with the slightest provocation. It’s scary to think how a nagging injury like that could affect the season of a player who has his sights set on a batting title.
Think that’s hyperbole? It’s not. In fact, there’s a guy at Coors Field this week who has a unique perspective on this exact injury and how it can kill an entire season.
Jedd Gyorko had a monster year in 2013, smoking 26 doubles and 23 home runs in the cavernous home confines of Petco Park, and finishing sixth in Rookie of the Year voting as the Padres’ everyday second baseman. He looked like he could develop into the second coming of Jeff Kent: a second baseman who could field it well enough and hit for power as a middle-of-the-lineup mainstay.
And then, 2014 happened. Gyorko dealt with plantar fasciitis from the very beginning of the season, even enduring a stint on the disabled list because of it. It showed in his play, as he finished the year slashing a miserable .210/.280/.333 with 100 strikeouts and just 10 home runs in 443 plate appearances.
Sure, plantar fasciitis may not have been the only issue causing Gyorko’s regression; Major League pitching caught up with his tendencies, to be sure.
Nevertheless, Gyorko told MLB.com about needing to be on the field to regain his swing, implying his stint on the DL from plantar fasciitis helped rob his season in 2014:
"“Personally, I like to go in there and swing,” Gyorko said. “I feel I’ll get my timing down better if I’m swinging. I think it’s harder to get your timing down by just looking at pitches.”Gyorko, coming off a season that was cut short to 111 games because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, is intent on improving on his offensive numbers from 2014, when he struggled at the start of the season and didn’t find his swing until returning from the disabled list."
Does any of that second paragraph sound familiar regarding the most recent times we’ve seen Corey Dickerson? Remember, he’s just 1-for-17 across his last five games and is slumping to the tune of a miserable 4-for-25 (.160) in the past seven games with no walks, just one RBI, and nine strikeouts.
Even when they’re healthy, players go through slumps, but it’s not outlandish to think that Dickerson’s left foot issues (which manager Walt Weiss has acknowledged Dickerson has been dealing with for some time) may be contributing to his performance at the plate.
Gyorko and Dickerson may not have parallel stories (after all, you can argue the physical demands of a second baseman are greater than that of a left fielder, causing plantar fasciitis to affect Gyorko far more than Dickerson). But, it bears watching how Dickerson will deal with this difficult, nagging injury in light of how it ruined an entire year for Gyorko last summer.
So while Nolan Arenado remains day-to-day with left wrist soreness, and Jorge De La Rosa’s return from a rehab stint was less than inspiring in the blowout, the biggest story is Dickerson.
A nagging heel problem could quite literally derail the season, a la Gyorko, if the Rockies’ training staff isn’t careful. Let’s just hope what happened to Jedd Gyorko in the season after his breakout year doesn’t happen to Corey Dickerson.