Notes: Gonzalez returns to Colorado

Notes: Gonzalez returns to Colorado

DENVER -- Infielder Luis Gonzalez returned to the Rockies clubhouse on Tuesday after three weeks down in Colorado Springs.

Coming back after rehabbing and working on his swing in Triple-A, Gonzalez said it's not a fresh start for him, just a healthy one.

For parts of his first stint this season with the Major League club, Gonzalez suffered from inflammation in his wrists. He was the team's Opening Day second baseman, but he was put on the disabled list on May 27. He was optioned to the Minors on June 11.

Returning after hitting .231 with two homers for the Sky Sox, he says he is healthy now and feeling good.

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle and Gonzalez both said the infielder wasn't hitting for average in Triple-A. He was working on hitting the ball hard, which started happening over the past week or so.

"I feel like I'm swinging pretty good," Gonzalez said, adding that his wrist injuries hurt his batting earlier this season. "I worked on my swing and my timing."

Manager Clint Hurdle said Gonzalez will return to a utility role, touting his ability to play almost every position on the field. Hurdle said Gonzalez is comfortable in that role and Gonzalez said he enjoys it.

"He gives us great versatility," Hurdle said. "Much more versatility than we had previously."

Outfielder Ryan Spilborghs was optioned to Triple-A after receiving little playing time of late. Hurdle said Spilborghs needs more at bats, which he will get in Colorado Springs.

Perfect timing: Hurdle and the Rockies received a letter on Tuesday from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, R. James 'Jim' Nicholson, thanking them for a visit to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in mid-June.

The Rockies made the trip to visit wounded veterans at the medical center on June 13 while on a trip to Washington, D.C., to play the Nationals.

"It was special, it was pretty moving ... to see a guy with no legs saying, 'It's not that bad. I can always get another set of legs.' Those guys without the arms, that's a tough deal,' " Hurdle said after the visit. "OK, I mean, now we're going to walk out here and play a ballgame?

"You want to talk about playing on your emotions a little bit, for someone that has never spent a day in the service, to feel so inadequate in front of these people and them thanking you for coming. You see them going through the physical rehab and the occupational therapy. ... They've given much more than their time and their energy to our country, and without a blink of an eye it was, 'Thank you, we'd do it again, this is what we do.' "

Hurdle said it was appropriate the letter arrived on the Fourth of July, and he posted it on a bulletin board in the clubhouse on the way to the field for everyone to see.

Tsao update: Doctors performed another MRI exam on righty Chin-hui Tsao's injured right arm, Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said. The location in the shoulder where the right labrum was repaired checked out fine, but there is some wear -- but not unexpected -- in the biceps tendon.

Dugger said Tsao, who has had trouble recovering from throwing sessions, will take it easy and wait for his arm to improve. There is still no timetable on a return.

A good week for two: Rockies Minor Leaguers Ching-Lung Lo and Cole Garner were both honored for their play over the past week.

Lo, a right-handed starter in Class A Modesto, was named California League Pitcher of the Week after he went seven innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits and struck out 10 against San Jose.

Garner, an outfielder in Class A Asheville, hit .519 with two homers and nine RBIs for the week, earning South Atlantic League Player of the Week honors. He had five hits, including two homers and seven RBIs on Saturday.

Also, right-handed starter Ubaldo Jimenez and infielder Jon Herrera picked up Rockies Minor League awards for June.

Jimenez, recently promoted to Triple-A Colorado Springs, was Rockies Pitcher of the Month, and Herrera, playing in Modesto, was Player of the Month.

On deck: The Rockies will close out their series with division rival San Francisco at 7:05 p.m. MT on Wednesday night. Righty Josh Fogg will take on the Giants' Jamey Wright.

Matthew Borenstein is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.