PHOENIX -- Rockies infielder Clint Barmes began Thursday night where he has begun every game since his past start on Sept. 5.

The bench is not the place to be for a player who started for the better part of the last three seasons and is headed into his first year of free agency this winter.

The 31-year-old Barmes, who has a .233 batting average, lost his starting job when the Rockies decided to go with the faster Eric Young Jr. in late August. Young has missed his previous three starts with a sore right shin, but the Rockies have gone with switch-hitting Jonathan Herrera instead of Barmes.

"I put everything I had into the whole season when I was playing, and I feel I definitely helped to get us to where we're at," Barmes said. "Obviously, I haven't done much in the last month or however long it's been. But I still feel I'm a part of the team.

"I'm not starting and I'm not playing as much as I was, for whatever reason. I'm not happy with that. But I'm just trying to make sure I'm prepared and I'm ready for any opportunity I get to help us."

Barmes had a 14-game hit streak during which he hit .386 from June 23 to July 7. He hit .313 in June and .271 in July. But he hit .132 in August and found himself being used mainly as a defensive replacement.

Barmes has tried many different approaches and stances while trying to become less streaky and less strikeout-prone. He has fanned 65 times against 35 walks (10 intentional) in 382 at-bats. Yet for much of the season, Barmes was as good as anyone on the team with runners in scoring position.

Barmes said he can get into trouble listening and thinking too much, but he believes he can succeed as an offensive player. His range makes him desirable defensively, and he can play shortstop as well.

"I said it last year, I was better than a .245 hitter," Barmes said. "This year I'm hitting .233. I don't believe I'm that type of hitter, but it's unfortunate where I'm at.

"I needed to come in this year and have a good year offensively. Obviously, I didn't swing the bat the way that I wanted to and ended up losing my job over it. That's part of the business. All I can do is continue to work and try to get better. I've made adjustments and learned a lot up until this point."

Of course, he'll have to make his argument in negotiations this winter. As of now, he is hoping for a chance to help his current club to the postseason.

"This isn't exactly the way I drew it up in Spring Training," Barmes said. "It's definitely not where I want to be sitting right now. But that's part of the game. This isn't my first time. I'm just trying to make sure that I'm ready for whatever they need whenever they need it."

Stewart returns to Rockies' active roster

DENVER -- Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart turned in a torrid performance Thursday morning in a simulated game at the team's training center in Tucson, Ariz., and found himself on the active roster for the 10-9 loss to the D-backs at Chase Field.

Stewart hadn't played since Aug. 25 because of a strained right oblique. The original plan was for him to return for Friday's opener of a key series at home against the Giants. But after Stewart hit two home runs in six plate appearances Thursday morning, manager Jim Tracy had him on the lineup card as a reserve just in case.

Melvin Mora started, but Stewart drew a pinch-hit walk in the seventh inning.

Stewart said watching the team lose two straight to the D-backs just a couple of hours down Interstate 10 was tough.

"Especially being so close, but not quite being there," Stewart said. "We've got one more game here. Maybe we can win this one, then get back home."

Added Tracy: "His progression over the last three days has been extremely good."

The Rockies have missed the power of Stewart, who has a .264 batting average with 18 home runs and 60 RBIs. However, it's hard to argue with the contributions of Mora, who, going into Thursday, had hit .308 with three home runs and 10 runs scored in 20 starts in Stewart's absence.

Tracy said he isn't sure if Stewart will return to the lineup Friday against Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum. An argument for the change, Tracy said, is Mora may need a rest.

"[Mora] continues to take one terrific at-bat after another," Tracy said.

Stewart said he simply wants to contribute.

"I hope I come back and play," Stewart said. "Melvin's done an outstanding job since I've been out. He's gotten some big hits and has been playing well, just like he has his whole career. So I hope that if I get back in the lineup, I can produce and step in for him."

In other lineup news, Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler, who has hit .193 on the road this season and has been hitting the ball into the air with regularity on the road trip, took a seat. Left-handed hitting Seth Smith started in left field, Ryan Spilborghs was in right and Carlos Gonzalez moved to center.

Todd Helton, who homered in Wednesday night's 8-4 loss, was on the bench in favor of Jason Giambi. Tracy said he wanted Helton to start Friday night's opener against Tim Lincecum.

Catcher Miguel Olivo also rested. Chris Iannetta replaced him for his first start since suffering a calf strain on Sept. 12.

Tulowitzki wraps thigh to keep swelling down

PHOENIX -- After being hit on the upper left leg by a pitch from D-backs pitcher Joe Saunders on Tuesday night, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki sported a small bandage. Thursday afternoon, the leg was wrapped from the upper thigh to the knee.

"It was right above my knee," Tulowitzki said. "It's just bruised and now the swelling is starting to go into the knee a little bit. We're trying to get all the swelling out of there so it doesn't happen."

Saunders drilled Tulowitzki right after Carlos Gonzalez doubled. Later in the game, Rockies pitcher Jorge De La Rosa nearly hit the D-backs' Stephen Drew, and plate umpire Doug Eddings issued warnings to both clubs.

Tulowitzki said he understood what happened.

"First base was open and I hit him well my last couple of at-bats," Tulowitzki said. "Maybe they're trying to pitch inside. Sometimes the game goes that way. Someone gets hit. Instead of getting a free base, sometimes people say, 'Hey, drill him because he's been in such a zone. Try to get him out of that.'

"For me, I didn't take it personally. We were down by three at the time. Now we're on first and second."

After launching 14 home runs in 15 games, Tulowitzki is 2-for-12 in the two losses to the D-backs.

"Like I was saying when I was playing real well and swinging the bat well, it's something you savor and remember for a while, because this game's not that easy," Tulowitzki said.