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07/29/12 3:00 PM ET

Friedrich working to avoid fatigue in rookie season

DENVER -- After a promising 4-1 start to his career, the Rockies fear Christian Friedrich might have hit a wall.

The rookie left-hander is 1-3 with a 7.77 ERA this month. Since June 10, he's won two games.

"You have to get him over this hurdle," manager Jim Tracy said Saturday after Friedrich gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Reds.

Friedrich has a history of flattening out midway through the season. The last two years with Double-A Tulsa, he was limited by elbow injuries. The 25-year-old says it's about finding a balance between staying conditioned and getting rest.

"You don't work out as much during the season to help your body," he said Sunday. "But then you break down a little bit because you aren't [working out]."

Such fatigue issues mirror Friedrich's outings. Friedrich has struggled in his second time working through a lineup, where opposing hitters are batting .355.

"That is the bugaboo for him," Tracy said. "That's what gets him into trouble. ... It's really difficult to be successful when you're removing your starting pitcher before 15 outs have been recorded."

Tracy dismissed the suggestion that Friedrich, right now, would be best suited in a piggy-back bullpen role rather than in the Rockies' four-man rotation. Friedrich is still scheduled to start Thursday against the Cardinals, which he plans to prepare for by doing less.

"I'm going to go easy on my core," he said. "I need to strengthen the smaller muscles there, and to do that I need to give myself some rest."

LeMahieu making most of increased playing time

DENVER -- If DJ LeMahieu is treating each of his stints with the Rockies as a tryout, Saturday's game against the Reds was good enough to warrant a curtain call.

LeMahieu notched a career-high three hits and a double to raise his batting average to .269. He started at second base -- again hitting from the No. 8 hole -- on Sunday.

"We need to see DJ on a consistent basis," manager Jim Tracy said.

LeMahieu was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on July 17 to replace Chris Nelson (irregular heartbeat) on the roster, his second stint with the club this year (May 23-June 22). The Rockies traded Marco Scutaro on Friday night, creating increased playing time for LeMahieu. With Nelson -- and infielder Jonathan Herrera -- eligible to be reinstated July 31, LeMahieu is trying to quickly prove he belongs.

"You want to do everything you can to stay up here," LeMahieu said. "I adjusted a few things [with my swing] in the Minors, but nothing major. I'm just playing within myself."

LeMahieu has six hits, including three doubles, in his last four starts.

Worth noting

• For the second straight game, Carlos Gonzalez went 2-for-4 Saturday night, his 37th multi-hit game of 2012. Gonzalez is tied for third in the National league with 70 RBIs.

• Josh Rutledge leads all National League rookies in total bases (31) and hits (20) since his MLB debut July 13.

• Right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin will make his first rehab start for Class A Modesto on Sunday at 7:05 p.m. MT vs. San Jose. Chacin, on the disabled list since May 2 with right shoulder inflammation, hasn't pitched since May 1.

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