4/16/2013 11:49 P.M. ET
Rockies expect turnaround for Rutledge
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
DENVER -- Rockies second baseman Josh Rutledge was not in the lineup for Tuesday's first game of the doubleheader against the Mets, on the heels of a 1-for-17 streak over his last four games to drop to .196 with one home run.
But manager Walt Weiss and hitting coach Dante Bichette say they are seeing enough positives to feel confident that Rutledge will have a turnaround.
Rutledge hit .274 with eight home runs and 37 RBIs in 74 games after being called up from Double-A Tulsa last year. But the combination of fatigue and a right quad injury reduced his effectiveness in September. He struggled early in Spring Training, but finished a respectable .268.
"'Rut's fine," Weiss said. "He does other things that help us win games, even if he's not locked in at the plate. He stole some bases in San Diego, and I think he's starting to get comfortable there, where he's picking his spots and taking off. He's played well at second base.
"It's important with young players to protect them from getting into a deep funk at the plate. Let them watch a game from the bench. Sometimes it's easier to slow the game down if they're not actually in the game. We're just trying to give them a little break, but he'll be right back out there."
Said Bichette, "You look at the makeup of the kid and the history of the kid. There's always somebody early in the season. He's the guy this year that starts off a little struggling. It's so early. One good game and he's back on track."
Rutledge is an aggressive swinger whose approach involves a leg kick, and the timing is tricky. As far as he is concerned, the key is to not lose the aggressiveness. He had nine walks in 291 plate appearances last year, and two in 50 so far this year. But his ability to cover a large area and put balls in play hard -- something he demonstrated in the Minors and for most of his time with the Rockies last year -- dictates that keeping the bat on his shoulder is not a good approach for him.
"All I'm trying to do is get balls in the zone as much as I can, and when they're in the zone, put a good swing on them," Rutledge said. "It's just a timing thing.
"Even from watching film from last season and Spring Training, nothing's really changed. You pretty much have the same swing you've had your whole life, but you might be rushing or something like that. It's not a big difference. You've just got to grind through the thing and help the team."
After Game 1 HBP, Tulo pinch-hits in Game 2
DENVER -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was not in the starting lineup for Game 2 of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Mets after a pitch from Dillon Gee plunked him on the left elbow during Colorado's 8-4 win in Game 1.
Tulowitzki pinch-hit for Reid Brignac with the bases loaded, two outs and the Rockies trailing, 8-6, in the seventh inning of Game 2, but struck out. He did not stay in the game on defense.
Tulowitzki was hit to load the bases in the fifth inning of Game 1 with the Rockies trailing by two runs. Michael Cuddyer then walked and Todd Helton hit a two-run single as the Rockies took the lead.
Tulowitzki stayed in the game, playing in temperatures in the 30s after being hit. Manager Walt Weiss said Tulowitzki did not go for X-rays after the game, but, "He's going to be sore -- it got him right on the elbow."
Rockies honor Jackie Robinson with No. 42
DENVER -- Before wearing No. 42 on Tuesday -- the day the Rockies and Mets celebrated Jackie Robinson Day -- Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler watched the movie "42" and marveled at the man who broke baseball's color barrier.
"Looking back, I don't know if there is a person who could have done that," Fowler said. "I would actually love to sit down and talk to somebody [who went through the hatred, name-calling and violence of the time] about it, to pick their brain. But watching that movie was powerful enough."
The number was worn by most Major Leaguers on Monday, the anniversary of Robinson's first game in 1947. However, Monday's Mets-Rockies game was snowed out, so the teams wore No. 42 in the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader.
In 1997, under the direction of Commissioner Bud Selig, Robinson's No. 42 was retired across all of Major League Baseball in an unprecedented tribute.
For Tuesday night's scheduled game, weather permitting, the teams were to wear throwbacks commemorating the first game in the history of the Rockies' franchise on April 5, 1993. On that day, the Mets beat the Rockies, 3-0, at Shea Stadium. So on Tuesday night, the Mets were to wear a throwback home uniform and the Rockies were to wear their original road design.
Fowler out of lineup with sore foot
DENVER -- A foul ball off his left foot and foul weather conditions made for a day out of the starting lineup for Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler on Tuesday.
Fowler stayed in the game after fouling a pitch off the foot during Sunday's 2-1 victory. Precautionary X-rays did not reveal any serious injury, but manager Walt Weiss did not have him in the lineup on Monday before the game was postponed, and said Tuesday it was better not to start Fowler.
"He's limping around a little bit," Weiss said. "He'll be available, but he's still pretty tender."
Although Fowler is showing uncommon power -- six homers, on the heels of hitting a career-high 13 last year -- his hitting slowed during the Rockies' six-game road trip. Fowler went 4-for-20, but the hits were damaging, with two home runs, a double, four RBIs and three runs scored.
Torrealba pleads for peace in Venezuela
DENVER -- The bombings at Monday's Boston Marathon brought home the point that the sports world isn't immune from world events. Some players from other countries know this better than most in the U.S. That's why Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba took to Twitter on Tuesday.
Violence erupted in Torrealba's home country after a disputed presidential election. The BBC is reporting that the country's attorney general said at least seven were dead in protests, and various news services say the unrest is nationwide. Tensions remain high after Venezuelan president-elect Nicolas Maduro banned a rally by the opposition planned for Wednesday.
In Spanish, Torrealba called for peace in his tweets:
"My people, I make a call for peace on my homeland, please!!!!
"I don't [take sides] with neither political side, I'm on the side of my brothers, who are all of Venezuela. All I ask for is that whatever happens, no one gets hurt."
"I only want the best for my beautiful Venezuela, it's all."
Lopez's confidence grows after solid outing
DENVER -- Rockies right-handed reliever Wilton Lopez figured he'd pitch to the standards of his track record at some point.
After posting sub-3.00 ERAs each of the last three years with the Astros, Lopez began this year by giving up runs in three of his first five appearances. Sunday's perfect seventh inning at San Diego with a two-run lead, in an eventual 2-1 victory, dropped his ERA from 12.46 to 10.12.
Lopez, 29, who had a 2.17 ERA last season and spent part of the season as the Astros' closer before being sent to the Rockies for pitcher Alex Smith, said he expects to pitch better as the season goes on. Manager Walt Weiss has said repeatedly that Lopez has had some bad luck and eventually he will pitch the way the Rockies expect.
"Every time I get in, I have confidence, like [Sunday]," said Lopez, who struck out two Sunday. "I thank God that things happened the way I was looking for them to happen.
"I know everybody has confidence in me. I feel that. The only thing I want to do is do the job. I'm focused on what I need to work on. I've been watching video and seeing things, and I'm staying positive. It's not a big deal, what happened the first few outings. It's something that happens to everybody."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.