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05/01/11 4:10 PM EST

Tracy hopes Fowler cuts down on K's

DENVER -- The Rockies are searching for some balance out of the leadoff spot with Dexter Fowler.

The center fielder, hitting .253 entering Sunday's series finale against the Pirates, leads the team in doubles (nine) and walks (17), but he has also struck out a National League-leading 34 times.

Rockies manager Jim Tracy said there has been a "gestation period" for Fowler, who has provided stellar play in center field since his rookie season in 2009. So the Rockies have dealt with a more incremental process at the plate, as Fowler has locked down center field.

"There's been moments of brillance," Tracy said. "The strikeout total is high, absolutely, for a leadoff hitter. But somewhere along the line as we continue to go forward, there will be a leveling off period, and I think we'll end up having ourselves a very consistent leadoff hitter."

For his part, Fowler believes increased at-bats will be the key to that consistency.

"I try to take it day-by-day, at-bat by at-bat," Fowler said. "It's a work in progress. I work on every aspect."

Rockies lead NL in double plays turned

DENVER -- After recording three double plays in Saturday's 4-1 win over the Pirates, the Rockies became the first National League team to reach 30 in the category.

The number is a point of pride for shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who has fast developed chemistry with second baseman Jonathan Herrera.

"I feel real comfortable with Johnny," Tulowitzki said. "I've said that from the beginning, and I've also said that no matter who my double-play partner is going to be, we're going to be up at the top, and I believe that."

Of course, it helps to have a three-time Gold Glove Award winner completing the plays at first base. Due in part to back problems, Helton finished the season with a career-low .256 batting average last season, but his defensive performance didn't waver.

This season, Helton has found his stride at the plate (he hit .300 in his first 22 games), and his stellar play at first base has continued unabated.

The 37-year-old made deft pickups on ground balls to begin double plays in the sixth and seventh innings during Saturday's game that left Rockies manager Jim Tracy in awe.

"He makes everything look easy," Tracy said. "He's as good a first baseman as I've ever seen. The comparison I draw to, in the short time I played, Keith Hernandez was an awfully good first baseman. But [Helton] does things that make you just sit and wonder, 'How does he do that?'"

Amezaga starts for first time since 2009

DENVER -- Alfredo Amezaga started at second base for the Rockies on Sunday, which marked his first start since 2009, when he was with the Marlins.

With a day off on Monday before a road trip to Arizona, Rockies manager Jim Tracy said he wanted to give Jonathan Herrera an extra day of rest.

Herrera has scuffled just slightly of late (3-for-15 with one walk in his last four games), but the stretch is nothing a brief spell can't cure, Tracy said.

"We saw this once earlier in the month, where it started to look like [Herrera] was running down just a little bit," Tracy said. "We gave him a day off and [he] came back fresh, right back up to speed where we like to see him be."

Herrera has been one of the Rockies most pleasant surprises through one month of the season. He is hitting .300 with a .424 on-base percentage in 20 games, after grabbing the role as the team's everyday second baseman from Jose Lopez.

Nick Kosmider is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.