CHICAGO -- Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta is seeking balance, in more ways than one.
After sitting out two games because of back pain, Iannetta was back on the lineup card for Monday night's game against the Cubs at cold, soggy Wrigley Field. Iannetta, who struggled through back pain late last season, is faithful to a postgame workout routine. But he knows that he has to constantly tweak his routine, so that it helps rather than contributes to problems.
With the back being such a factor, these days flexibility trumps strength.
"For me it's more stretching, to make sure I keep stretching, and I have been," Iannetta said. "This is something that happened. But I think if it was later in the season I'd have kept playing. It was a situation where we had an opportunity to give it a couple days' rest, and we took advantage of it."
In addition to his back, Iannetta has to be attuned to the condition of his legs.
"You want to be in balance the way your strength is distributed," he said. "You want to make sure your quads and your hamstrings are evenly balanced and make sure your flexibility in both is evenly balanced, or else you'll cause injury and issues.
"It's constantly changing up just based on fatigue. If I'm really fatigued from playing four or five days in a row, I'm not going to go in there and do legs. You pick your days to do work. If I'm squatting all the time I'm not going to go in there and do quad work, but I'll maintain hamstring strength and agility."
The other issue where balance comes into play is in the batter's box. Iannetta entered Monday with a healthy .407 on-base percentage, but his .186 batting average was anything but healthy.
The on-base percentage has been good in two-out situations, where if the pitcher behind him doesn't reach, the lineup turns over to leadoff man Dexter Fowler for the next inning. However, with runners on base, Iannetta needs to use his ability to drive the ball. He has two home runs and six of his eight hits are for extra bases, but he also has struck out 17 times.
"There's a part of me that says Chris is still searching," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said, "in the process of knowing that he's not exactly where he wants to be offensively: 'If in fact I'm not there, then I'm going to do whatever it is I can possibly do to turn that lineup over.' That's a very difficult spot in the order to hit in.
"But once you've gotten into the game, where you know that starter is pretty much at the end of his rope ... if the pitch is there to do something with, because we've got traffic out there, you've got to be thinking along those lines."
Video illuminates flaw for slumping Lopez
CHICAGO -- The Rockies have found the mechanical root of infielder Jose Lopez's early-season slump. The corrections have begun. Now it's a matter of achieving results.
Rockies hitting coach Carney Lansford said videotape showed that Lopez had slipped, tilting the barrel of his bat too far toward the pitcher. As a result, his hands could not move into position for the inside pitch. He corrected that, and Sunday against the Marlins drove two balls deep to the outfield. He was not rewarded because of the wind and the spacious dimensions at Land Shark Stadium.
Lopez, who started at third Monday night against the Cubs, needs to produce better than his .161 batting average. He entered the game 2-for-28 on the road.
"The video has helped me," Lopez said. "And I'm getting close to where I stood in the batter's box in 2008 and 2009. I've moved closer to the plate, and I think I'll get my rhythm back."
Lopez said he expects to feel more comfortable the more times he sees National League pitching. He spent his entire career with the Mariners of the American League before joining the Rockies in an offseason trade. The Cubs are the first team the Rockies have played twice this year, so Lopez believes that should help. Manager Jim Tracy noted that Lopez is familiar with Cubs Monday starter Matt Garza, who pitched for the Rays in the AL.
"Right now it's a little tough learning a lot of pitchers, but I'll be all right," Lopez said.
Reynolds knows all about Wrigley experience
CHICAGO -- The visiting bullpen at Wrigley Field can be a rough place for someone who is sensitive, lacks a sense of humor or is simply unprepared. Rockies reliever Matt Reynolds, however, was ready Monday night.
Besides, he brought in reinforcements.
Reynolds is from St. Charles, Ill., and he went to a nearby two-year school, Kishwaukee College, before completing his college career at Austin Peay State in Tennessee. He had visited a few games at Wrigley growing up and knew exactly what to expect from the boisterous and often creative fans.
But it turns out 20-30 members of his family and friends bought tickets. Most of them purchased seats near the Rockies' bullpen.
"I know the weather is not supposed to be good, but that's not going to deter people from getting here and getting to the Wrigley experience," Reynolds said. "A lot of them have already bought tickets near the bullpen. Some of my buddies are split up in sections, and one of them is up in the suites -- he got tickets through his work. But most of the rest are in the bullpen area.
"I've been to some Cubs games, so I kind of know what it's all about. I guess you never really know until you get out there, but it's all in good fun. Hopefully, those Rockies fans down there will help out."
Those looking to cheer Reynolds will have plenty of reason if he continues his strike-zone performance. Reynolds entered Monday night with 10 strikeouts against one walk this season and 27 strikeouts to six walks since debuting in the Majors last August.
"It's just the formula of attack the strike zone, get ahead and be aggressive," Reynolds said.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.