08/29/12 9:31 PM ET
Rutledge proves to be 'quick learner' with Rockies
By Owen Perkins / Special to MLB.com
He continued his hot hitting, singling in his first two at-bats to improve to .350 (49-for-140) with seven homers and 27 RBIs in his first 40 big league games.
"There are players that come to the big leagues and it takes a period of time -- there's a learning curve involved," manager Jim Tracy said. "Then you have exceptions to the rule. Troy Tulowitzki back in the day was an exception to the rule. This kid is making a statement for himself right now that he is an exception to the rule."
One of the most remarkable indicators of Rutledge's comfort level in the Majors is his success in pinch-hit at-bats during the eight games he didn't start. Rutledge went 5-for-8 with a double, triple and a home run in his first big league at-bats off the bench.
"I have tested him," Tracy said. "I've watched what he's done with runners on second, nobody out. I've challenged him with hit-and-run -- he's passed. I've challenged him with using the whole field in given situations -- he's passed. He's a quick learner."
Rutledge has made the 80 games without Tulowitzki bearable as the Rockies have thrived with the rookie shortstop. He's already earned a penciled-in role as the Rockies' starting second baseman in 2013, joining Tulowitizki for a double-play combination that can deliver in the field and with power at the plate.
"I'm anxious to see how he's going to do at second base, but with the early work we've done with him and the information I've been given from some of my coaches, it's going to be something that I think is fairly dynamic to see, the two of them play together," Tracy said.
Rox slot Pacheco into cleanup spot for first time
DENVER -- Jordan Pacheco has been asked to do many things for the Rockies this season -- to back up the catcher, play third and now, with injuries riddling the roster, to be the club's primary first baseman.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy asked Pacheco for another first in Wednesday's finale against the Dodgers -- to hit cleanup for the first time in the Majors.
"If you think about it, you really only bat fourth one time, and that's in the beginning," Pacheco said, downplaying the need to adjust his approach for a new slot in the lineup. "After that, everybody falls into place. I guess in the first inning you take it a little differently, but after that it's all the same. You're still in the lineup. That's how I look at it."
Pacheco has been exceptional at the plate during his rookie campaign, hitting .308 entering his 100th game of the season. His two home runs are not typical of a corner infielder or a cleanup hitter, but Tracy couldn't be happier with what Pacheco has given the club on a daily basis.
"I'm not looking for him to hit the ball over the fence or anything like that," Tracy said. "But I know ... we'll get a very professional at-bat, and the door's also open to do other things if situations present themselves because he's very, very good at it. He's off the charts [with bat control], so that's why we went that direction."
More than filling the typical cleanup profile, Tracy wants someone who can effectively protect Carlos Gonzalez. By keeping Gonzalez in his customary third spot in the lineup, he ensures a first-inning at-bat from the club's best hitter.
"I know I can hit the ball out of the park, but I'm just trying to contribute to this team," Pacheco said. "Whether it's on defense or at the plate. It's just getting the guy over, getting the guy in -- that's what I see myself doing."
Parker among Rockies prospects picked for AFL
DENVER -- Seven Rockies prospects were named Wednesday to participate in the Arizona Fall League this year, including outfielder Kyle Parker, the team's first-round pick in 2010.
Parker, a former quarterback for Clemson, has played 99 games as the right fielder for the Class A Modesto Nuts this season, hitting .308 with 22 home runs and 72 RBIs.
He and the six other Rockies prospects will play for the defending league champion Salt River Rafters. They include: pitchers Isaiah Froneberger (Modesto), Cory Riordan (Triple-A Colorado Springs) and Coty Woods (Colorado Springs); catchers Lars Davis and Jose Gonzalez (Double-A Tulsa); and outfielder Kent Matthes (Tulsa).
A pitcher will be named to the roster later.
Parker (No. 9) and Matthes (No. 17) are ranked among the Rockies' top prospects.
The Arizona Fall League opens its 20th season for prospects with less than a year of Major League service Oct. 9.
Outfielder Dexter Fowler is better and was possibly available to pinch-hit or enter as a late-inning defensive replacement, but there is still concern about how his rolled ankle will respond to sudden cutting movement.
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and first baseman Jason Giambi were scheduled to move their rehab from Double-A Tulsa to Triple-A Colorado Springs, beginning Wednesday night.
Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, coming back from Tommy John surgery, threw a bullpen session Wednesday and could face hitters in pregame batting practice this weekend.
Right-hander Juan Nicasio, recovering from left knee surgery, has been cleared to do light catch on flat ground.
Utility man Eric Young Jr. is feeling much better with his left intercostal muscle strain but has not started baseball activities yet.
"It's feeling better, so I know we're heading in the right direction," Young said. "For what I'm doing, I feel great, but I haven't swung the bat or done any baseball activity, so that's going to be the test."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.