DENVER -- Outfielder Michael Cuddyer, the most consistent hitter among Rockies regulars, left Wednesday night's 8-4 victory over the Padres in the seventh inning with a bruised left big toe.Cuddyer, hitting .370 with two home runs and a team-leading eight RBIs, suffered the injury when he fouled a pitch off his shoe, just two pitches before his two-run homer in the fifth inning off Padres left-handed starter Clayton Richard. "We drained it, and I'll probably end up losing the nail, but it's better," Cuddyer said. Manager Jim Tracy said if Cuddyer is still in pain Friday when the Rockies begin a three-game series in Milwaukee, the skipper could sit Cuddyer and allow him two days to rest. But Cuddyer said he expects to be ready. With slumping shortstop Troy Tulowitzki out of Wednesday's lineup, Tracy moved Cuddyer up two spots to the cleanup spot. But most of the time, Cuddyer has been a key in the lower half of the order for the Rockies this season. Behind Cuddyer are catchers Ramon Hernandez (.267, two homers and six RBIs) and Wilin Rosario (.263, one homer and four RBIs) in the seventh spot and third baseman Chris Nelson (.306, three doubles, four RBIs) in the eight-hole. Cuddyer, who spent his entire 11-season career with the Twins before signing a three-year, $31.5 million contract with the Rockies during the offseason, said he keeps a simple approach and doesn't put pressure on himself. "I've hit anywhere -- one year, I hit the whole year fourth, one year fifth, one year I hit the majority sixth," Cuddyer said. "If nobody's on base, your job is to get on base. If somebody's on base, your job is to knock them in. It doesn't matter if you're the leadoff hitter or the eight-hole hitter. In the National League, the eight-hole hitter is the only one who needs to change his approach depending on the situation, but for the most part, it doesn't matter."
Herrera's play justifies Tracy's move
DENVER -- Rockies utility infielder Jonathan Herrera hit an opposite-field home run and doubled Wednesday in his third start of the season, an 8-4 victory over the Padres on Wednesday night.Manager Jim Tracy started Herrera at second base because Marco Scutaro moved to shortstop in place of Troy Tulowitzki, who sat for the first time this season and is slumping with a .244 batting average and six errors. Tracy often takes criticism for starting reserves. Usually, the issue comes to light on Sundays, when the Rockies have struggled on that day since the start of last season. However, Tracy doesn't apologize for the occasional start for players who usually enter late in games, and Herrera is part of that crew. Tracy took heavy criticism for sitting Scutaro, Dexter Fowler, Todd Helton and Carlos Gonzalez (who was out with strep throat) on Sunday in a loss to the D-backs. But it wasn't the fault of Herrera, who went 3-for-4 and scored a run. Herrera followed up with a big night Wednesday. "You hear so much about, 'Why are you resting this guy or that guy?'" Tracy said. "We're not just putting another player in the lineup. We're putting a very good player out there. If you get him some time, whether it's coming off the bench or picking a guy up to give a guy a break. He's had five hits the last two games that he's played. That's a guy you're not the least bit hesitant about penciling into the lineup."
First baseman Todd Helton doubled off Padres pitcher Clayton Richard in the third inning of Wednesday night's 8-4 victory over the Padres to improve his career total to 558, 24th on the all-time list.Helton has two doubles more than the Angels' Bobby Abreu, and is two behind Hall of Famer Eddie Murray and Jeff Kent, tied at 560. Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario went 2-for-4 with a double Wednesday night, and had a double and a sacrifice fly in Tuesday night's 5-3 victory over the Padres. The rookie has started the past two games because Ramon Hernandez suffered a left hand injury on Monday night. Manager Jim Tracy expects to start Hernandez on Friday in Milwaukee. Right-handed relief pitcher Edgmer Escalona was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Monday after he went 2-0 with two saves in five scoreless innings. Escalona, who had made brief appearances with the Rockies the previous two seasons, said he did not intend to be in Colorado Springs for long. "When they sent me down, I was sad, but they said, 'You've got to work,' and that's what I was doing," Escalona said. "I had my best year last year, but when they sent me down, I said, 'Wow.' But I told them, 'I'll go to Colorado Springs and do my work, and you'll call me soon.'"
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.