05/09/11 9:08 PM EST
Changes paying off at plate for Iannetta
By Thomas Harding and Nick Kosmider / MLB.com
Colorado finished 1-5 on the trip to Arizona and San Francisco, but in the five games he played, Iannetta hit .412 (7-for-17) with a home run, two RBIs and a pair of walks.
Moved one spot higher to the No. 7 hole in the lineup Sunday, Iannetta notched a pair of singles, his second two-hit game of the road trip. His batting average, now at .230, has jumped 55 points since May 1.
"I've felt comfortable the entire time. A lot of it was just figuring out how aggressive I needed to be in the eight-hole," said Iannetta, who hit seventh in the lineup for Monday's series opener against the Mets. "Once I started getting that under control, things started slowing down a little bit."
Iannetta has made several mechanical adjustments at the plate. He has focused on moving his hands into position during his startup. The result has been a softer landing of the front foot, which allows Iannetta to better cover the strike zone.
"When he's doing that and he's separating, he's behind the ball and he's in a real good position to hit," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "That's why you've seen him be more successful here as of late than he was in the earlier part of the season."
Rockies embrace warmth of home park
DENVER -- Home wasn't a comfortable place for the Rockies in April. Frigid, wet and icy weather was at least partly to blame for the team's 7-6 start at Coors Field.
But sunshine and warmth greeted the Rockies on Monday for the start of a three-game series with the Mets. The team has an eight-game homestand and 15 of its next 20 games at Coors Field -- where the Rockies finished 53-29 last season, after going 7-5 at home in April. It's a good time to be at home and able to bear the weather. The Rockies are coming off a 1-5 road trip.
Putting the recent struggles in perspective, the Rockies still entered Monday leading the National League West by one game over the Giants, who swept them over the weekend. Despite the rough trip, the Rockies are 11-8 on the road.
"Baseball was not meant to be played in cold weather," leadoff man Dexter Fowler said. "That's why it's played in the summertime."
At the end of the Rockies' last homestand, they dropped two of three against the Pirates in a series that featured wind-chill in the 30s and light snow.
"It's the first time I've come out here and talked to you with one set of sleeves on," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said Monday during his pregame press conference from the dugout. "So hopefully you're going to get really good weather.
"If we play over the course of the season like we have the last couple years at home and continue to find our way over the course of the season to win more games than we lose on the road, then we're going to be in a really good place in late September."
Rockies starters enjoying run of quality outings
DENVER -- Offensive struggles haven't affected the Rockies' starting pitching staff.
Colorado finished 1-5 on its recent road trip despite receiving quality starts from its starters in all six games, a stretch in which the starters posted a 2.37 ERA.
Ubaldo Jimenez turned in his best start of the season when he gave up one run over six innings, and the Rockies even got a stellar outing from Clayton Mortensen -- four hits and one earned run in six innings -- who filled in for the injured Esmil Rogers (back).
Jason Hammel, who didn't get a decision in his last start against the D-backs despite surrendering just four hits over seven scoreless innings, said the rotation has benefitted from a positive atmosphere of one-upmanship.
"I think with competitive people, when you see one guy go out and do really well, it really pushes the next guy to go out there and improve," Hammel said. "Right now, I think we're just pushing each other and making a good competition out of it."
Overall, the starters' 3.79 ERA is the sixth-lowest among National League teams.
"I personally feel like anybody we run out there is going to give us a good chance to win," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
But while the performances from members of the rotation have been solid of late, catcher Chris Iannetta sees room for improvement.
"We've got to get better," Iannetta said. "There's a lot of things we can still do better. We just need to slowly integrate those things in day by day."
Rockies right-hander Aaron Cook is scheduled to throw three innings, or 45 pitches, in an extended spring training game Tuesday -- his first action under game conditions. Cook fractured the ring finger on his throwing hand during Spring Training. Cook, eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list on June 13, is in line to go to Double-A Tulsa to begin a Minor League rehab assignment if all goes well Tuesday.
Rockies infielder Ty Wigginton, out with a strained left oblique, tested his side Monday in all baseball activity except for sliding, manager Jim Tracy said. The Rockies will monitor his progress over the next couple of days before approving the next step in his recovery. Wigginton is eligible to come off the 15-day DL on Thursday, but Tracy said Wigginton will play a couple of games on a Minor League rehab assignment before returning to the Rockies.
The Rockies hope Troy Tulowitzki can replicate his recent success against the Mets.
During a four-game series at Citi Field in April, Tulowitzki hit .625 (10-for-16) with four home runs and eight RBIs.
Against the three Mets pitchers scheduled to start in this week's series -- Chris Capuano, Mike Pelfrey and Jonathon Niese -- Tulowitzki has hit .469 (15-for-32) with three home runs and six RBIs.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Nick Kosmider is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.