Lopez says his Rockies days are done

Lopez says his Rockies days are done

Lopez says his Rockies days are done
DENVER -- Frustrated by what he says was bad luck and an inability to adjust to irregular playing time, Rockies infielder Jose Lopez said Thursday night that he has been designated for assignment.

Lopez made the announcement after he went 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter to bring his batting average to .208 during a 6-3 loss to the D-backs at Coors Field. The Rockies did not make an official announcement.

Early speculation was the Rockies would bring up utility man Eric Young Jr. from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Young, batting .363 through 42 games for the Sky Sox, was scratched from the lineup for Thursday's game at Albuquerque. Young, a speedster, is 17-for-18 on stolen-base attempts, and the Rockies' leadoff position is in flux, with Dexter Fowler now hitting eighth.

Lopez, 27, was acquired from the Mariners during the offseason for Minor League pitcher Chaz Roe. Lopez homered for the Rockies on Opening Day and had a four-hit game on May 19 against the Phillies, but he mostly struggled in purple pinstripes. Not only did he struggle for hits, but the emergence of Jonathan Herrera at second base cost him playing time.

Lopez appeared in 38 games and made 32 starts, 23 at third base and nine at second base.

"I hit the ball hard; that's all I can do, and I had no luck," said Lopez, who said he was informed of the decision immediately after Thursday night's game. "I've had this before -- hit .170 in 200 at-bats, then start hitting and get to .250, .270.

"I want to play every day. I didn't get a chance to play every day. That's what happened. I'd play one day and not get to play the next two. That's the first time for me. I played the last five years 150 games. This year, I played the first couple weeks, then started getting on the bench."

Another reason the Rockies could turn to Young is right fielder Seth Smith, who hit leadoff Thursday night and has done so on occasion, suffered a right groin cramp and left the game in the seventh inning. The other option, with Fowler hitting eighth to correct his swing and cut down on strikeouts, is Herrera, but manager Jim Tracy likes his work at the No. 2 spot.

Bringing up Young, who plays second and has picked up outfield in the last couple of seasons, would likely mean some position shifts. Herrera is capable of playing third if Young joins the club and plays second.

There could be immediate playing time for Young in the outfield. Smith is considered day to day, so Young could join Fowler, who plays center, and Carlos Gonzalez, who starts in left but can play either corner.

Young, who turned 26 on Wednesday, appeared in 51 games for the Rockies last season and hit .244 with five doubles, a triple and 17 stolen bases in 23 attempts. However, his season was interrupted by a fractured right tibia. Although he returned to the club in August, the injury had not fully healed before Spring Training, which hampered his candidacy for the Opening Day roster.

Once the Lopez move becomes official, the Rockies will have 10 days to decide how to place him. They'll likely seek a trade and are likely to release him if they can't make a deal.

Lopez, who is owed $3.6 million this season, is the second Rockies offseason acquisition to be designated for assignment. The Rockies made that move Saturday with right-handed reliever Felipe Paulino, who came from the Astros in a trade for former starting infielder Clint Barmes. The Rockies dealt Paulino to the Royals for cash considerations on Thursday night.

Lopez also was the third personnel shakeup in a week. The club traded struggling left-handed pitcher Franklin Morales to the Red Sox last week for a player to be named later or cash considerations.