Hale pitches after delay, exits with groin strain

Righty has short debut vs. former club due to mild injury

Hale pitches after delay, exits with groin strain

DENVER -- David Hale's debut against his old team was certainly an unexpected one.

Originally scheduled to start on Friday versus the Braves -- the team he played for from 2013-14 -- Hale was pressed into relief duty in Thursday's 5-3 win after Kyle Kendrick didn't return following a lengthy rain delay.

Hale, however, didn't last long either -- he threw just 22 pitches and faced only six batters before exiting with a mild left groin strain. He said the injury initially occurred while running the bases after his second-inning single, specifically when he went to tag up from third on Troy Tulowitzki's sacrifice fly.

Tulowitzki's sac fly

"Nothing popped -- no tear or anything like that," Hale said. "Just feels bruised and tight. I guess it's good the way it felt, but it kind of sucks that I had to come out of the game.

"I'm not used to running that far."

Hale faced two batters in third before coming up lame when trying to field a bunt attempt. As he approached the ball in front of the plate, Hale tailed off right as Nick Hundley threw out Jake Brigham at first base.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss, pitching coach Steve Foster and athletic trainer Keith Dugger immediately came out to check on Hale, and the mound visit eventually included members of the Rockies' infield before Hale exited. Christian Friedrich replaced him.

"Treatment and just see how it feels," Hale said would be the immediate recovery plan. "They seemed pretty optimistic about it, which is good. It's just one of those things you've got to wait a little bit and rest up and get past the initial soreness. It just feels tight and bruised. So it's going to take a couple days."

Hale did manage to face the only two Braves position players who were with him in Atlanta last year. To start the third, he gave up a ground-rule double to Chris Johnson before retiring Andrelton Simmons on a lineout to left.

"Yeah, CJ got me," Hale said with a smile. "I'm going to have to hear about that, but it was good to see those guys."

Because Monday's off-day put Hale on full rest, Weiss said he knew Hale was an option if weather intervened. But as far as Friday's starter goes, Weiss didn't have an immediate answer.

Triple-A starter Aaron Laffey would be on normal rest but isn't on the 40-man roster, while long-reliever Yohan Flande threw 70 pitches on Tuesday.

"We're going to have to figure that one out," Weiss said.

Injury aside, though, Hale, somewhat ironically, said he enjoyed the unexpected outing.

"Today did not go exactly the way I thought it was going to go, but I kind of liked it," said Hale, who made 39 relief appearances last season. "It was a bit of an adrenaline rush and got that adrenaline flowing that I was used to last year."

Dargan Southard is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.