Iannetta seeks harmony with health, bat

Iannetta seeks harmony with health, bat

CHICAGO -- Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta is seeking balance, in more ways than one.

After sitting out two games because of back pain, Iannetta was back on the lineup card for Monday night's game against the Cubs at cold, soggy Wrigley Field. Iannetta, who struggled through back pain late last season, is faithful to a postgame workout routine. But he knows that he has to constantly tweak his routine, so that it helps rather than contributes to problems.

With the back being such a factor, these days flexibility trumps strength.

"For me it's more stretching, to make sure I keep stretching, and I have been," Iannetta said. "This is something that happened. But I think if it was later in the season I'd have kept playing. It was a situation where we had an opportunity to give it a couple days' rest, and we took advantage of it."

In addition to his back, Iannetta has to be attuned to the condition of his legs.

"You want to be in balance the way your strength is distributed," he said. "You want to make sure your quads and your hamstrings are evenly balanced and make sure your flexibility in both is evenly balanced, or else you'll cause injury and issues.

"It's constantly changing up just based on fatigue. If I'm really fatigued from playing four or five days in a row, I'm not going to go in there and do legs. You pick your days to do work. If I'm squatting all the time I'm not going to go in there and do quad work, but I'll maintain hamstring strength and agility."

The other issue where balance comes into play is in the batter's box. Iannetta entered Monday with a healthy .407 on-base percentage, but his .186 batting average was anything but healthy.

The on-base percentage has been good in two-out situations, where if the pitcher behind him doesn't reach, the lineup turns over to leadoff man Dexter Fowler for the next inning. However, with runners on base, Iannetta needs to use his ability to drive the ball. He has two home runs and six of his eight hits are for extra bases, but he also has struck out 17 times.

"There's a part of me that says Chris is still searching," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said, "in the process of knowing that he's not exactly where he wants to be offensively: 'If in fact I'm not there, then I'm going to do whatever it is I can possibly do to turn that lineup over.' That's a very difficult spot in the order to hit in.

"But once you've gotten into the game, where you know that starter is pretty much at the end of his rope ... if the pitch is there to do something with, because we've got traffic out there, you've got to be thinking along those lines."