06/23/08 8:25 PM ET
Barmes makes his Rockies return
With Baker red-hot, Hurdle will have tough decision soon
By Mark Dent / MLB.com
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has been back for the Rockies since Friday, and Clint Barmes made his first start at second base on Monday since sustaining a sprained knee on May 23. Barmes got called up from a rehab assignment at Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sunday.
Plugging Tulowitzki at shortstop was a no-brainer. But Barmes has competition at second. While he was injured, Jeff Baker more than filled the role. He was named National League Player of the Week on Monday after batting .435 and hitting a home run in four consecutive games last week.
"Truth be told, Barmes is a better defensive player than Bake is at second base," Hurdle said. "Bake has done a fine job. You want to get the two involved. I think it's the best way to get them both involved."
Baker was batting second on Monday, and Barmes was hitting ninth in the order. Ninth would seem a strange spot for someone who has a .343 average, the best on the team, but Hurdle thinks Barmes' speed will help him fit down there.
For now, Baker and Barmes can co-exist in the lineup because of Interleague Play. But once the stretch of games against the American League ends, Hurdle might have to make some tough decisions with his lineup.
He has two able defenders, a player who's one of the hottest in the NL right now in Baker and one who was on fire before he got injured in Barmes.
"We'll see how he takes it up," Hurdle said about Barmes, "and if he's as hot as he was when he left, then we can make the necessary adjustments."
Mark Dent is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.