05/01/2013 10:59 PM ET
First-place Rockies boast big April numbers
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- The Rockies finished April in first place in the National League West and with strong statistics.
The team's 267 hits were the second most in franchise history for the month, with only the 286 in 1998 exceeding that total. Its 36 homers were one below the club April record, set in 2003, and 22 of them came on the road.
Questions about the pitching staff led to low expectations from the outside, but the Rockies' 3.75 staff ERA was second best in franchise history behind the 3.53 of April 2011. The 16 team wins were one shy of the franchise record in 2011.
Rockies send third baseman Nelson to Yanks
LOS ANGELES -- The Rockies have sent their former starting third baseman Chris Nelson to the Yankees for cash consideration and a player to be named, the Rockies announced Wednesday.
Nelson, 27, hit .301 for the Rockies last season, and he was hitting .242 this season before the Rockies designated him for assignment Sunday to bring up prospect Nolan Arenado to start at third. To make room for Nelson, the Yankees placed catcher Francisco Cervelli (broken right hand) on the 60-day disabled list.
In an interesting twist, Nelson will share time with Jayson Nix at third base with the Yankees. Nix was the Rockies' supplemental first-round pick in the 2001 MLB First-Year Player Draft, and Nelson was the Rockies' first-round pick in 2004.
In another move Wednesday, the Rockies acquired outfielder Jose Monzon from the Astros to complete the deal that sent right-handed starting pitcher Alex White to Houston and right-handed relief pitcher Wilton Lopez to Colorado. Monzon, 21, will report to extended spring training.
Jittery Tulowitzki back in Rockies' lineup
LOS ANGELES -- Healed from his left shoulder injury and excited to play in the lineup after two games off, an admittedly jittery Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki stepped into the pregame batting cage Wednesday and launched a homer to left field, an opposite-way shot to right and another to left for good measure.
Tulowitzki was in the lineup Wednesday night for the deciding game of a set of three against the Dodgers. On Sunday, he sustained a strained rotator cuff of the non-throwing shoulder on a slide into home plate on which he made contact with D-backs catcher Miguel Montero. Tulowitzki and the training staff, wary of a past that has seen Tulowitzki worsen injuries by playing through them, decided on two days off.
"I haven't played a game since this happened, so I can't really simulate some of the swings I'm going to take in the game," Tulowitzki said before the game. "All signs point to I'm going to be fine, but I don't know. I'm anxious to get out there, and I'm a bit nervous. I'll try to be myself."
Any lingering nerves did not appear to bother Tulowitzki once the game began, though, as he doubled in two runs with bases loaded in his first at-bat.
Manager Walt Weiss said before the game: "It was the best-case scenario. After he got hurt in Arizona, just a few days off and he's back out there tonight. It's good to be able to write him in the lineup. He was feeling pretty good yesterday, but it was the right thing to do, give him one more day."
Helton's coming return won't be end for Pacheco
LOS ANGELES -- A lengthy rest from a strained left forearm has done wonders from Todd Helton, who said he should be ready to come off the 15-day disabled list to play Sunday against the Rays.
Jordan Pacheco has played well in Helton's absence, but Helton gives more of a veteran presence and slightly more power to the gaps. Pacheco, whose presence gives the Rockies a solid hitter either off the bench or as a part-time starter, will not be kicked to the curb.
"Pacheco has played great, and I haven't gotten any younger since my time on the DL," Helton said. "I'm still going to have to have days off. I'm still going to have to have his help, and I want to help him, too."
Helton is hitting .268 with one home run, three doubles and 10 RBIs in 13 games. Helton began the year 2-for-21, but in his seven games before the injury -- all Rockies victories -- he went 9-for-20 (.450) with three doubles, a home run and eight RBIs.
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.