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USATSI

Colorado Rockies outfielder Kris Bryant has returned to the injured list because of a lower back strain. The club announced the move on Wednesday and recalled right-hander Ryan Feltner from Triple-A Albuquerque to take Bryant's spot on the active roster. Feltner started Wednesday against the Pirates

As for the 30-year-old Bryant, he missed more than a month earlier this season with the same injury, and he played just two games before being returned to the IL. This latest move was made retroactive to May 23, which means Bryant could return as soon as June 2. However, given the lingering nature of the injury, any assumptions about a timeline would probably be premature. 

The Rockies surprisingly landed Bryant this past offseason on a seven-year, $182 million free agent contract. They did so despite not profiling as contenders and despite making little effort to retain outgoing shortstop and franchise lifer Trevor Story, who wound up signing a $140 million pact with the Red Sox

Coming off a productive All-Star 2021 campaign with the Cubs and Giants, Bryant has disappointed thus far in Colorado. In 17 games, he's batted just .270/.342/.333 and is still seeking his first home run as a member of the Rockies. Bryant this season has also faired quite poorly in terms of batted-ball metrics and quality of contact, which doesn't bode well moving forward. Of course, the ongoing back problems are likely playing a role in those depressed indicators. 

For now, the focus will be on getting Bryant fully healthy in the hopes that he'll be able to provide more customary production. If that doesn't happen, then the Rockies could be looking at a boondoggle of a contract.