DENVER -- The most talked about figure in the Rockies' clubhouse on Friday was a guy who wasn't there, and hasn't been all season. Several of the Rockies' players haven't even met shortstop Jose Reyes, and others have never actually been his teammate.
Those who know Reyes -- suspended Friday (retroactive to Feb. 23) through May 31 by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for violating the domestic abuse policy -- call him a friend who made a terrible, inexcusable mistake. Beyond that, they didn't say much.
Whether they like the veteran Reyes, or whether they have no opinion, all they know is rookie Trevor Story has performed well at shortstop and has given the team no reason to remove him. So until Reyes is back -- even that isn't certain, since several other teams have holes at short and could become trading partners -- Reyes is simply a player who isn't here.
"The thing about baseball is people come up and go down every day," center fielder Charlie Blackmon said. "I hate to say it, but if you're not in the lineup, it's kind of like out of sight, out of mind. Daniel Descalso [activated from the disabled list Friday] could be out on a rehab [assignment] and it might be a day or two before people realize Daniel is not in the locker room. So it's not a distraction."
Reyes came from the Blue Jays in the Troy Tulowitzki trade -- a big salary to help offset the salary Toronto took on in Tulowitzki. He hit .259 in 47 games and defensively struggled with his range, as he had with the Jays. Off the field, players gravitated to him because of his experience and bright personality.
While there were headlines about him wanting out of Colorado, after playing for the playoff-bound Jays, his actual statements were the Rockies had talent but needed pitching. Also, he said he wanted to win at this stage of his career, whether it be in Colorado or elsewhere. Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who has talked to Reyes since the incident and remains his friend, spoke with mixed feelings.
"Jose gets a lot of love, not just from the team he plays for, but from all the players around the league, and he's had a tremendous career," Gonzalez said. "It's tough what he's going through right now but everybody makes mistakes. As a teammate, I'm going to support him. Hopefully, he can learn from this."
Second baseman DJ LeMahieu said Reyes "was a good teammate, I liked having him around and I felt he competes and loves playing baseball."
Third baseman Nolan Arenado said he has texted with Reyes occasionally, but there isn't much he can say about the situation.
"As we get closer, as he gets closer, I guess, to coming back, maybe I'll have a better answer," Arenado said.
Story, 23, earned the shortstop job in Reyes' absence in Spring Training and won National League Rookie of the Month honors for April. Turns out he has plenty of experience handling what he can control. Story was selected 45th overall in 2011. It wasn't until Tulowitzki was dealt that anyone had an idea his position would be available in Colorado.
"Anything can happen, and the way I've handled it is just worrying about myself and controlling what I can do," Story said. "That's worked for me so far, so I don't see myself venturing from that."