DENVER -- Finally, after a frantic Major League debut, in which he had to borrow equipment from his teammates, Josh Rutledge is finding it easier to breathe."It's been better the past day," Rutledge said at his locker on Sunday, before the Rockies began their series finale against the Phillies. "The first day was a little hectic, but it has been awesome." Hours after he was called up from Double-A Tulsa on Friday to replace Todd Helton (15-day disabled list, left hip inflammation), Rutledge became the second player in franchise history to go 2-for-2 with 2 RBIs in his first game. Derrick Gibson did it in 1998. Rutledge went 0-for-3 in Saturday's loss, but drew a walk and scored a run. The former All-SEC shortstop -- selected in the third round of the 2010 Draft out of Alabama -- is learning to temper the expectations that may come after such a sterling debut. "I'm not really worried about hits," said Rutledge, who was the Rockies Organization Player of the Month in August of 2011. "I'm just trying to get in the box and have a good at-bat, get on base, score some runs. Anything I can do to help the club." Rutledge knows his status with the big league club is uncertain, with Helton and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki both expected to return this season. The Rockies have him staying in a hotel downtown for the time being -- "We'll see what happens with that," Rutledge said -- but they could at least give him a nameplate above his locker in the clubhouse, which remains blank. "I don't know where that is," Rutledge said with a laugh. "But I'm not worried about it -- as long as I'm here."
Hernandez gets the call again at cleanup
DENVER -- When Troy Tulowitzki went down in late May, the Rockies slid Michael Cuddyer -- who had been hitting sixth -- into Tulowitzki's cleanup spot.Cuddyer has a better average in the No. 4 spot than he did in the sixth (.265 to .262), and he's nabbed 22 RBIs. But to keep Cuddyer from dragging, Rockies manager Jim Tracy put Ramon Hernandez in the cleanup spot on Sunday, the second time in three days Hernandez has started there. Cuddyer batted fifth. "My thought process is to take a bit of the onus Michael Cuddyer is shouldering," Tracy said. "Hitting fourth, that's not really what we signed him up to do in the wintertime. And Hernandez has hit there in his career." Hernandez, reinstated from the disabled list on July 13 after missing 42 games with a left hand strain, had a career .500 average against Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels (3-for-6), with one home run, entering Sunday's game. "He has some history with Hamels," Tracy said. "The bottom line is regardless of where I hit Ramon and Michael, when you're hitting in the middle of the order, the game is going to find you in run-producing situations. But to take a bit of the burden off [Cuddyer] makes sense."
Right-handed starter Jhoulys Chacin, on the disabled list since May 2, will throw a simulated two-inning game on Tuesday. With 15 pitches per inning, combined with a bullpen session beforehand, the Rockies expect Chacin to throw 65 pitches. Wilin Rosario, who did not start on Sunday, leads all Major League rookies with 15 home runs. Rosario also leads National League catchers in that category. Only Todd Helton and Troy Tulowizki have hit more as Rockies rookies. "If he keeps this up, you'd expect him to be in the running for Rookie of the Year," Tracy said.
Trey Scott is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.