ARLINGTON -- Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau was scratched from the lineup before Thursday night's game against the Rangers because of a stiff neck.
Morneau missed two weeks during Spring Training because of the ailment, but was fine after being cleared to play. Morneau also underwent surgery in 2011 to remove a herniated disk fragment. That was during a time that he was dealing with the aftereffects of a concussion.
Morneau was healthy last year, playing a combined 152 games with the Twins and the Pirates. He also played in all but two of the Rockies' 36 games before Thursday, and started 31 times.
Morneau is batting .331 with seven home runs, 10 RBIs and 10 doubles.
Arenado, Beltre share mutual admiration
ARLINGTON -- The Rockies' Nolan Arenado grew up admiring Adrian Beltre's unique style playing third base, with the contortions that lead to bullet throws across the diamond.
During Tuesday night's game against the Rangers, Arenado ranged to his left to barehand a grounder that most would have gloved, then made a solid throw to first base to beat the runner.
That runner happened to be Adrian Beltre.
"He was at third base one time and he said, 'I like you, but don't be doing that. Come on,'" Arenado said. "It was pretty cool for him to say that."
The imitation and flattery have been going on all week. Arenado went into Thursday night's final game of four between the clubs, two at Coors Field and two at Globe Life Park in Arlington, hoping to extend his hit streak to a club-record 28 games. Arenado also has put on a defensive show, demonstrating a magnetic combination of joy and fearlessness -- one that Beltre has shown for years.
"It's humbling to hear that from a guy that is as good as he is," Beltre said. "It makes me appreciate what I've done in the game. But it's nice to see a guy like that come up and have the success he's had just two years into his career. He's learned so much and he's playing regularly in the big leagues."
Arenado said he first met Beltre in 2012, the first time Arenado was in the Rockies' big league camp. Beltre also sent Arenado one of his gloves, which is in safe-keeping at Arenado's parents' home in Lake Forest, Calif.
On Wednesday night, Beltre hit his 100th home run in a Rangers uniform. He joined Reggie Jackson, Darrell Evans, Alex Rodriguez and Jim Thome as the only players to hit 100 or more homers with three different teams.
It was Arenado's turn to wish Beltre had picked another day.
"I think he's a future Hall of Famer," Arenado said. "I'm a huge fan, obviously. I wish he wouldn't have hit that home run against us, but that's what good players do."
Martin gets well, pitches in hometown
ARLINGTON -- The inspiring scene -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Chris Martin getting to pitch in his hometown and throwing a scoreless inning in Wednesday night's 9-2 victory over the Rangers -- almost didn't happen.
Martin was drafted by the Rockies in 2005, but a shoulder injury convinced him to give up the game and he worked in Arlington for UPS and Texas Warehouse until his arm seemingly magically snapped back. Martin pitched a year in independent ball for the Grand Prairie AirHogs before signing with the Red Sox organization. He was traded to the Rockies last winter, and he made his Major League debut May 2.
But with the trip approaching, the viral infection that landed infielder Josh Rutledge and catcher Wilin Rosario on the disabled list touched him. On Sunday, while the Rockies were playing the Mets, Martin (0-0, 2.70 ERA) spent the day in the clubhouse, medicated and sleeping. Martin feared he'd end up on the DL.
"It crossed my mind, but a good training staff got some good medicine in me and got me back out there," he said.
Martin, 27, pitched in front of a large group of family and friends.
"Coming out of the bullpen I could hear them cheering," he said. "Once I got to the mound I just locked it in and tried to get hitters out. When I got to see my family after the game, it was awesome."
Stubbs back in starting lineup
ARLINGTON -- Rockies center fielder Drew Stubbs was back in the starting lineup Thursday night after three-hit games against the Rangers on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Stubbs, a right-handed hitter whose playing time was reduced by the emergence of and lineup need for left-swinging Charlie Blackmon, entered Thursday night hitting .323 in 28 games. As has been the case for much of his career, his strikeouts are high (17 in 65 at-bats), but he does do damage with contact -- two home runs and five doubles. He also is a stolen-base threat. He has two and is a threat for more with regular playing time.
"It's just been a few games [of success], but before that even occurred I felt pretty good up there," Stubbs said. "I felt a good stretch was coming. It's nice to have some fall in. It kind of puts you in a groove when you get some balls to fall in for you, then you put some good swings on some balls."
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.