6/21/2014 5:42 P.M. ET
Lopez called up from Triple-A to aid overworked 'pen
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
DENVER -- With the bullpen working overtime to protect a rotation beset by youth and short, ineffective starts, the Rockies purchased the contract of righty Wilton Lopez on Saturday.
It was Lopez who struggled mightily in 2013 and the early part of 2014, before he was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs -- amid a flurry of boos from the Coors Field crowd -- after four appearances and an 11.37 ERA this year.
The Rockies designated Lopez for assignment on June 16. But with three starters (Brett Anderson, Tyler Chatwood and Eddie Butler) disabled, and with callups Christian Bergman, Tyler Matzek and Christian Friedrich in the rotation, the bullpen needed protection. Lopez, 0-2 with a 4.54 ERA in Colorado Springs, suddenly found himself needed.
Long relievers Tommy Kahnle and Franklin Morales have been used heavily.
"A lot of it has to do with where we're at right now as a pitching staff," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Our bullpen has been pretty taxed and I feel like we needed another guy that can give us multiple innings out there. That's one of the major reasons we brought 'Lopie' back. He's been throwing the ball better."
Lopez had some strong performances for the Astros from 2009-12, with many of those coming as a closer, but he lost the sink on his sinker when he arrived with the Rockies and the results have been predictable -- 3-4, 4.63 ERA, 106 hits against in 81 2/3 innings over 79 total appearances with Colorado.
Lopez believes he has found something.
"I worked every day -- I threw hard, and I focused on location, inside and outside, and threw my slider," Lopez said. "I wanted to get more power in my arm."
To make room for Lopez on the active roster, the Rockies optioned righty Chris Martin (0-0, 6.89 ERA) to Colorado Springs. The club also placed outfielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer (fracture in left shoulder socket) on the 60-day disabled list to open a 40-man roster spot for Lopez.
The Rockies also recalled Friedrich from Colorado Springs for Saturday's start, his 2014 debut, and optioned first baseman/outfielder Kyle Parker to Colorado Springs. Parker, the team's No. 1 Draft pick in 2010, went 0-for-6 with four strikeouts -- three in his only start, when the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw no-hit the Rockies at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night.
Swollen hand puts Bergman's next start in question
DENVER -- Whether Rockies right-hander Christian Bergman will make his next start, Wednesday against the Cardinals, is uncertain. On Friday night, the Brewers' Aramis Ramirez hit a hard smash off the base of Bergman's left hand.
The swelling hand and the fact Bergman gave up seven runs on nine hits combined to limit him to three innings.
X-rays showed no break in the hand, but Bergman will soon undergo an MRI after his hand showed severe swelling on Saturday morning.
If Bergman can't start, it'll be yet another blow in a year full of injuries to the starting rotation. Left-hander Christian Friedrich, who made his 2013 debut on Saturday against the Brewers, became the 11th starting pitcher the club has used this season.
"It's still pretty sore," Bergman said. "I wasn't able to grip a bat last night and I still can't hold a bat today.
"I'm not sure [if I can start Wednesday]. I'll be getting some treatment, so we'll have to see how it goes."
CarGo welcomes twin girls to Rox family
DENVER -- The smile on Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez's face is a little bigger these days, and not just because he will have the stitches removed from his surgically repaired left index finger early next week.
Gonzalez and his wife, Indonesia, became parents of identical twin girls, Carlota and Genova, born on June 13 at 30 weeks.
"It's unbelievable," Gonzalez said. "I think everything happens for a reason. I got hurt, they put me on the [disabled list] and that Tuesday I had surgery and my babies were born on Friday. It was a good opportunity for me to spend time with my wife and my kids. I can't describe how amazing it was. Now they're continuing to grow. Now I'm excited to get back on the field.
"Not that I wanted to be hurt, but it was a perfect time to be hurt, so I could spend time with my family. I was happy to be with my wife when she needed me most."
Gonzalez said his wife is recovering at home, and the babies are gaining strength in a local hospital. Gonzalez said the babies will be home in a couple weeks. The Gonzalezes also have a 5-year-old boy, Santiago.
Masset settling into new home at Coors Field
DENVER -- Should the Rockies escape their current malaise and return to the days of late-game leads, right-hander Nick Masset could prove to be a smart pickup for the team.
Masset suffered a shoulder injury while with the Reds in 2011 and later had thoracic outlet surgery. He joined the Rockies on a Minor League contract this winter, but his arrival in the Majors was pushed back because he needed a staph infection cleared from his shoulder during Spring Training.
In 20 Major League appearances this season, Masset has a 4.00 ERA, with scoreless ball in five of his last seven outings. Masset returned on Saturday from a three-game suspension he received for hitting the Braves' Evan Gattis with a pitch, after warnings had been issued, on June 12.
Keys for Masset include finding the groove he had with the Reds, when he was one of the National League's best righty relievers, and adjusting to the different Coors Field atmosphere. Masset has a 12.75 home ERA, but seemed to make adjustments while pitching scorelessly in his last two home games.
"The whole timing issue is always a work in progress," Masset said. "I learn more and more about what I need to do to execute my pitches each outing. I'm getting better and better with my stuff. The more I pitch, the better I feel, the more I can stay polished. It's been that way over my whole career."
Masset said pitching at Coors, where breaking balls don't break as well as at lower altitude, is an education.
"It's something you find when you go out and play catch and try to feel for what you need," Masset said. "For instance, while warming up in San Francisco my stuff was breaking a lot more than it did in Denver. You just have to make the adjustments when you're on the mound. But overall, as long as the pitches are moving, I'm happy with where my stuff is right now."
Rox missing dependable defense of Arenado, CarGo
DENVER -- The pitching and hitting difficulties the injury-depleted Rockies are dealing with are well-documented. But the defense also has taken a hit, as illustrated by several plays in Friday night's 13-10 loss to the Brewers.
Specifically, it has been difficult to replace the Gold Glove defense of third baseman Nolan Arenado (broken left middle finger) and left fielder Carlos Gonzalez (surgery to remove a tumor in his left index finger).
Just a cursory look at the game reveals five runs that possibly could've been prevented. It's not an aspersion on the players in the lineup -- Josh Rutledge, a middle infielder who played third, and Corey Dickerson in left.
In the first inning, the Brewers' Aramis Ramirez doubled past a diving Rutledge for two runs. Arenado is one of few third basemen who would have had a better-than-average chance to turn that double into an out. Later, Brewers leadoff man Scooter Gennett bunted for a hit toward third and ended up scratching out a run. Rutledge nearly made the play, but Arenado's presence might have discouraged the bunt.
In the ninth inning, Gennett scored from second on Ryan Braun's single to Dickerson in left. Gonzalez, known for one of the game's best outfield arms, might have made the throw in time or discouraged Brewers third-base coach Ed Sedar from sending Gennett.
"It's tough to compare anybody -- there are no Nolan Arenados in all of baseball, really," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "When that's the standard, you can always find something with the guys that are out there. I feel like they've done a good job."
Rutledge committed two more miscues on Saturday, both in the Brewers' four-run second inning.
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.