8/21/2014 12:52 A.M. ET
McBride returns to starting lineup in grand fashion
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
ENVER -- The Rockies' Matt McBride rounded the bases with enthusiasm -- and without incident -- Wednesday night.
McBride, whose contract the Rockies purchased from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday, celebrated his first start Wednesday by clubbing a sixth-inning grand slam off Royals starter Danny Duffy. The swing was the difference in Colorado's 5-2 victory. It was the first career slam for McBride, who last played in the Majors in 2012.
"It was a great feeling," McBride said. "I was excited that we got the lead right there, and just excited I was able to get my pitch, get the barrel to it and hit the ball hard."
In this year of numerous and odd injuries, McBride got his out of the way long before he arrived in Denver.
On April 11, a bone in McBride's right foot broke when he was between first and second, while rounding the bases -- after hitting a home run. Of course, that wasn't the entire story.
"Before it completely broke, I was hit by a pitch," said McBride, who started Wednesday in place of left-handed hitting Justin Morneau, because Duffy had held lefty hitters to a .138 batting average this season. "A lefty threw a fastball and I tried to get out of the way, and it hit me on the top of my back foot. Later, doctors said I probably had a stress fracture from that. But it was sore, and I didn't think it was anything other than a bone bruise.
"But four days later, I hit a home run, and between first and second, I felt a pop. It was worse than I originally thought."
McBride, 29, continued to hit after he healed. He batted .305 with seven home runs and 35 RBIs in 51 games for Triple-A Colorado Springs. His 0-for-1 performance as a pinch-hitter Tuesday night was his first big league action since 2012, when he batted .205 in 31 games. Last year, McBride hit .328 with 15 home runs in 48 games at Colorado Springs, but suffered a neck injury that required spinal fusion surgery.
Manager Walt Weiss tested McBride mostly as a catcher in Spring Training (.333, three home runs in 20 games). McBride has played more first base and in the outfield corners.
"He's a good hitter, another one of the guys that's really persevered to get back here," Weiss said. "Whenever he's been healthy, he's been a very good hitter."
McBride is one of a crowd of first baseman-corner outfielders hoping for a chance with the Rockies, who have plenty of quality at those spots. McBride continues to catch occasional bullpen sessions just in case he is needed there.
Any time the phone rings, it's a chance to claim a Major League career, but he has a level-headed approach.
"Whenever you come up there, you're trying to make it your chance and make a positive impact, help the team win," McBride said. "Anytime you come up here, you've got that same attitude."
McBride came from the Indians at the 2011 non-waiver Trade Deadline. He is the last player the Rockies have from the deal in which they parted with their former pitching ace, Ubaldo Jimenez.
"I'm not too worried about that; I'm worried about trying to play baseball, like we're all trying to do, just compete," McBride said.
Bergman will get start against Miami
DENVER -- Rockies right-handed starting pitcher Christian Bergman will have a chance Sunday to continue what has been an eye-opening season. Bergman will start against the Marlins at Coors Field.
A 24th-round Draft choice out of Cal-Irvine, Bergman was an All-Star at every level before earning a promotion to the Majors in early June. But that lasted just three games, before a line drive by the Brewers' Aramis Ramirez hit him in the left hand, just above the base of his glove, in the third inning of a game on June 20. Bergman suffered a broken bone. At the time, he was 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA. But the previous two starts, he went six innings and gave up two runs and three runs, respectively.
Bergman had five rehab starts, one at Double-A Tulsa and the last four at Triple-A Colorado Springs. In those last four, he posted a 4.69 ERA but eight of the 12 earned runs off him came during one difficult appearance.
"My last two starts were pretty good down at Colorado Springs [three runs, 13 hits in 13 innings], and I swung the bat in my last game with no problems at all, and I had no problems catching the ball," said Bergman, 26. "My arm feels loose and efficient."
The Rockies sent lefty Yohan Flande to Colorado Springs on Friday, when they purchased first baseman-outfielder Matt McBride's contract. They'll need to clear spots on the active roster and the 40-man Major League roster when they activate Bergman for Sunday's game.
While many Rockies fans want to see high Draft picks Eddie Butler and Jon Gray, both pitching at Double-A Tulsa, manager Walt Weiss said those two are still ironing out some issues, and Bergman merited the opportunity.
"He could be an interesting guy for us, with the feel he has for pitching and the ability to command the ball," Weiss said.
Weiss asks Cuddyer to protect himself
DENVER -- Hustle is one of the attributes that make Michael Cuddyer one of the favorites for Rockies fans and teammates, but manager Walt Weiss has talked to Cuddyer about keeping some of the grit under control.
Cuddyer missed 60 games with a left shoulder fracture before returning for a doubleheader on Sunday. He hit for the cycle in the second game, but emerged with left hamstring soreness that kept him from playing Tuesday and kept him out of the lineup Wednesday. He expects to start Thursday, however.
"We talked about the difference between digging to first -- he digs hard, all the time, to first base, leaning at the bag as opposed to getting down the line as opposed to getting down the base with a nice stride," Weiss said. "There's a difference.
"He's always digging. Dirt's always flying up behind him. That's what makes him who he is. But there are times where he can back off a little bit, not to the point where people can even tell. But turn down a little bit on the throttle. It's tough for him to do."
Cuddyer missed 25 games early in the season because of a strain in the belly of the left hamstring. During a rehab assignment before rejoining the Rockies, Cuddyer felt discomfort in the same area but played through it. He believes the rest will help him.
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.