4/22/2014 12:32 A.M. ET
Rockies taking look at Arenado in No. 2 spot
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
DENVER -- Nolan Arenado has spent nearly two weeks being a headache for pitchers who already were dealing with strength in the top half of the Rockies' lineup. Now, with Michael Cuddyer on the 15-day disabled list, it appears Arenado will have chances at the No. 2 slot.
Arenado, who extended his 12-game hit streak with a home run in his first at-bat in the second spot Monday night, giving the Rockies a 1-0 lead against the Giants at Coors Field. He looked forward to hitting ahead of Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki but said he would not change his style.
"I try not to put too much into it," Arenado said. "I'm going to try to do the same as I do at seventh, just try to do my job. If anything, what may be a little different is I might be hitting with two outs all the time or leading off an inning. That could make things a little more comfortable.
"Who knows? I've just got to battle. Having 'CarGo' and 'Tulo' behind me, I don't want to put too much into that. The Giants know me and they know how I hit. It's not going to make that big of a difference."
It was his ninth career start and first this season at the second spot. He has batted fifth, sixth and seventh this season. Since drafting him in the second round in 2009, the Rockies have looked at him as a possible big-time contributor in the upper part of the lineup.
One reason the Rockies are OK with Arenado filling Cuddyer's spot, despite having recently turned 23, is his ability to handle responsibility without wilting.
"He's a baseball player," said manager Walt Weiss, who went with Drew Stubbs in the second spot Friday and Saturday, and Brandon Barnes on Sunday. "He's not worrying about where he's hitting in the lineup or anything like that. It's no big deal for Nolan."
All has not been easy. After posting a low strikeout rate last year (72 in 486 at-bats), he has fanned 13 times in 78 at-bats this year and walked just once. Still, he entered Monday with a .295 average with two home runs, five doubles and 11 RBIs. He struck out six times during the 11-game streak going into Monday, but his 16 hits (four doubles) help offset those.
Tulowitzki, who has helped Arenado by lending tips on studying pitchers, said it's a chance for Arenado to prove he can maintain performance when more is asked of him.
"He's making strides in the right direction," Tulowitzki said. "That's all you can ask of a young player. I think it's a big step for him, a chance to really make his impact on the team and in the lineup. Hopefully, he understands his job is to get on base. He's a good player, he's going to be great, and hopefully this helps him."
Arenado's intention to maintain his approach at No. 2 sounds much like the approach Cuddyer had when moving from the middle of the lineup last year to No. 2 this season.
"The big thing is not trying to conform to where you are in the lineup," Cuddyer said. "It's the manager's job to put your skill set in a position in the lineup that he thinks is going to benefit the team. It's not the player's job to conform to that lineup spot. 'Skip' has confidence that what Nolan brings to the plate is good for a No. 2 hitter."
Arenado said, "I have an approach right now, and if it's working I don't need to change too much of it."
CarGo gets wish after texting plea to start
DENVER -- Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez texted manager Walt Weiss Sunday evening -- not long after being removed from a 10-9 loss to the Phillies with left knee tendinitis -- requesting to start Monday night against the Giants. Weiss granted the request, but will keep an eye on Gonzalez's health.
"He really wanted in there tonight, so he talked me into it," Weiss said.
Gonzalez said the pain he suffered trying to run out an infield bouncer in the sixth inning made him fear his problem was more serious than it turned out to be. He said he played through last year with the tendinitis.
The injury is to the patellar tendon, which runs vertically along the front of the kneecap. The injury affects him running the bases and during acts such as jamming into a base, but he said it's not as much of an issue defensively because he is running on grass as opposed to dirt.
"I'm trying to go out there with no limits," Gonzalez said. "I'm going to go out there and hit the ball as hard as I can, try to make every play I can make. If it hurts, I will let them know. It's something I have to manage."
Most importantly, he said it doesn't affect his hitting or his power. It is to his back leg while batting, but the location of the tendon doesn't affect his push-off. While it's true that in his last eight games, Gonzalez is 5-for-31 (.161) with no home runs and one RBI, he has been victim of an inordinate number of leaping, diving defensive plays and hard outs.
"Home runs just happen, and I know I have enough power to hit the ball out of the ballpark, even when I don't hit it good," said Gonzalez, who entered Monday batting .282, tied with Justin Morneau for the team lead in homers with four, and with 14 RBIs -- one behind Morneau's team-leading figure. "That's not something I'm worried about. It's not like 2010 when my wrist was killing me. You know you are limited and you're not going to hit a ball hard.
"My knee is something that's bothering me, but I can still go out there and compete and hit the ball hard. I've been hitting the ball hard. At least eight times, I hit the ball in the hole or something and somebody makes a diving play, or they're playing shift. But I'm sure I will have more than eight broken-bat hits. That will replace all those line drives."
Chacin to approach 80 pitches in rehab start
DENVER -- Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin will make a rehab start of 70-80 pitches Thursday for Triple-A Colorado Springs, and it could be his last or next-to-last rehab start.
Chacin, who suffered a right shoulder strain at the onset of Spring Training, has had what he feels are two productive rehab starts at Class A Modesto. He reported that his slider has not reached Major League effectiveness, but there is no undue soreness.
If Chacin checks out healthy after Thursday's start, his next outing would be at roughly 90 pitches, which would build the pitch count enough that it would not be a push to have him join the big league rotation. However, the Rockies might want him to be able to throw 95-100 when they activate him. Technically, Chacin could have as many as three more starts on the 30-day rehab assignment, but he feels close to ready.
"I feel strong, and hopefully the next game I'll feel better," Chacin said. "I don't know when I'll come back, but I hope it's soon.
"I was more worried about my curveball because it's more with my shoulder, but it is good. I'm not worried about my slider."
The Rockies entered Monday night's game against the Giants at .500 (10-10) despite missing Chacin and left-hander Brett Anderson, who suffered a broken left index finger in his third start, and with lefty Jorge De La Rosa (Monday night's starter) fighting back from a rough beginning to the season.
"They've been throwing the ball pretty well, giving the team a chance to score runs and win the game, and we need to keep doing that," Chacin said. "I'm not worried about 'De La.' He's going to be better. If we keep pitching well, we can make sure the bullpen isn't overworked, like last year. We'll be there in the end."
Rosario back behind plate for De La Rosa
DENVER -- For the first time since Opening Night, left-hander Jorge De La Rosa was paired with regular catcher Wilin Rosario. The situation attracted scrutiny because once during Spring Training and in the opener, the two became crossed on signs and De La Rosa's outing deteriorated.
Manager Walt Weiss has said putting De La Rosa with Jordan Pacheco for three straight starts wasn't a "personal catcher" situation or an attempt to keep De La Rosa and Rosario from one another. De La Rosa struggled just as much in his first two starts with Pacheco as he did on Opening Night, only without the odd exchanges on the mound.
"I don't have a lot of concerns about it," Weiss said. "There's been a couple issues early on, one in Spring Training, but we've spent a lot of time on that. Wilin and Jorge have spent a lot of time together. 'Lach' [catching coach Rene Lachemann] and Jimmy Wright, the pitching coach, and as a staff we've put time in not only with Wilin and 'De La,' but the entire pitching staff and with our catchers.
"I look at last year and Wilin caught a bunch of 'De La's' starts, and they worked really well together."
The Rockies pinpointed De La Rosa's problems in his first three starts, all of which lasted just 4 1/3 innings, on overthrowing. In his last start, De La Rosa held the Padres to three runs, two earned, and struck out four in six innings. De La Rosa was hurt by two infield hits and a passed ball on Pacheco in the fifth inning, but he finished with two strikeouts in a spotless sixth.