DENVER -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy put together an unusual lineup for Thursday night's series finale against the Cardinals, with usual leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler hitting third, Tyler Colvin hitting first, usual No. 5 hitter Todd Helton hitting sixth and backup catcher Ramon Hernandez hitting behind Helton."Ramon had three hits last night and I hate to take that away from him," Tracy said Thursday. "His bat looked as good as it did before his injury."
Hernandez had missed 42 games due to a left hand strain.
More importantly, Tracy didn't want to get caught in a web of bad matchups toward the end of the game."They have three lefties in their bullpen," he said. Through the first eight hitters, the Rockies' lineup read: lefty-righty-switch-lefty-righty-lefty-righty-righty. Fowler did not start the last two games because of flu-like symptoms. He struck out in a pinch-hit appearance in Wednesday night's 9-6 loss to St. Louis. Helton missed all of Wednesday's game with a stomach bug.
Friedrich hoping back injury doesn't end season
DENVER -- Rockies rookie left-hander Christian Friedrich is hoping his body doesn't strike midnight before the season is over.Friedrich, 25, was originally scheduled to start Thursday against the Cardinals but was pushed to Sunday against the Giants after experiencing soreness in his back and midsection. He actually has struggled with general soreness since being hit in the right calf by a line drive on June 30. Pitching through pain caused him to alter his motion. Friedrich said he will know he's out of the woods if he feels good during and after his bullpen session on Friday. This season, Friedrich threw 30 innings at Triple-A Colorado Springs before beating the Padres in his Major League debut on May 9, and has thrown 84 2/3 in the Majors. In the Minors, he battled various injuries and never threw more than the 133 1/3 he logged last year at Double-A Tulsa. "Bo [McLaughlin, a Rockies pitching coach] has been telling me they're trying to get me over the hump that's gotten to me the past couple of years," Friedrich said. "I'd get to a certain innings point, then something starts acting up. They want to try to condition my arm to get over the hump and get through that. "If your arm hurts or your leg hurts, you can still go out there and throw, but the back is such a sensitive area I can't keep going. Hopefully this thing calms down quite a bit, so we'll see where it goes from there." Friedrich, who gave up seven runs and six hits -- including three homers -- in 4 1/3 innings of a loss to the Reds in his last start, said he has used the extra time to strengthen core muscles that aren't always easy to work on when pitching on a normal schedule.
Cuddyer continues to rest sore right oblique
DENVER -- Michael Cuddyer was out of the starting lineup for the second straight day with a sore right oblique in Thursday's series finale against the Cardinals."I don't think there'll be any [game] activity tonight, but [the training staff is] working towards having something available tomorrow," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said Thursday. Cuddyer played catch with head athletic trainer Keith Dugger before Thursday's game. Tyler Colvin started in his place in right field. The 33-year-old Cuddyer is hitting .260 with 15 homers and 56 RBIs this season.
Todd Helton, unavailable Wednesday because of a stomach bug, started at first base Thursday night."Stomach is good, I feel great," Helton said. Andrew Brown was optioned back to Triple-A Colorado Springs to make room for Alex White -- Thursday night's starting pitcher -- on the 25-man roster. Brown hit .208 with three RBIs in 11 games. Right-handed starter Jhoulys Chacin was slated to start Thursday night for Double-A Tulsa, his second of four scheduled rehab starts. Chacin gave up five runs in 2 2/3 innings July 29 for Class A Advanced Modesto.