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Notes: Rockies easing Fuentes back

Notes: Rockies easing Fuentes back

DENVER -- Brian Fuentes went to Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca on Monday and said he's that ready to pitch on back-to-back days.

That's good news for the Rockies, who could use another lefty in the bullpen, with the recent struggles of Jerermy Affeldt.

Since returning from the disabled list last Tuesday, Fuentes has pitched on every other day and the Rockies have been cautious with their former closer.

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"We want to do the right thing," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "We also want to pitch him on back-to-back days when it's appropriate, when it's practical."

The Rockies could have used Fuentes on Sunday in Los Angeles, where Affeldt gave up the Rockies one-run lead on a two-run single in the eighth inning. Hurdle said using Fuentes Sunday, which would have been on back-to-back-days, was a possibility. Fuentes, however, said that he was told he wouldn't be used on Sunday.

Hurdle also said the decision has mainly been up to Fuentes. It's tough to blame the Rockies for being overly cautious. Fuentes' left lat strain went from being day-to day in early June, to possibly just 15 days on the DL when he had a rehab stint on July 17 for Class A Asheville, to nearly a six-week absence.

"It kind of works out to plan," Fuentes said. "I wanted to come back and be healthy for the final push. I didn't want to be 50 percent for the whole year. I'd rather come back and be 100 percent for when they need me the most and I think that's right now."

With Manny Corpas converting 11-of-11 save opportunities in Fuentes' absence, his role in the 'pen is unclear. Most likely, he'll join Jorge Julio and LaTroy Hawkins as another setup man for Corpas.

"Wherever they need me to help -- sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth inning -- whenever," Fuentes said. "I'm ready to help out."

Redman signed to Minor League deal: The Rockies signed Mark Redman to a Minor League contract on Monday and Redman started for Double-A Tulsa on Monday.

Redman started the season with the Braves and went 0-4 with an 11.63 ERA in six games and five starts before being released. He has also spent time during this season in the Blue Jays' Minor League system.

With three of the Rockies' Opening Day starters on the disabled list, they're desperate for starting pitching and, until this season, Redman has been a proven commodity. His best season was in 2003 with the Florida Marlins when he went 14-9 with a 3.59 ERA.

Last season with the Kansas City Royals, Redman started the season strong and made the All Star team. He finished the year going 11-10 with a 5.71 ERA.

Hurdle said the plan for Redman is to try to get him to Triple-A Colorado Springs as soon as possible.

"We'll just let him pitch and then see how much interest we have in him," Hurdle said.

Thank you, scheduling Gods: After five straight series against playoff contenders, four of the Rockies' next five series are against last-place teams.

The Rockies start a seven-game homestand on Monday against the National League Central Pirates, whom they swept earlier this season. The NL Central is the only National League division the Rockies have a winning record -- 19-17 -- against this season.

The Rockies also have a better record at home -- 35-23 entering Monday's game compared to 28-37 on the road. Luckily for the Rockies, 22 of their final 38 games will be played at Coors Field.

"We're confident when we're in here," Hurdle said. "We've developed a very sure confidence here, but you've got to go out and play the game. I think we're looking forward to starting the homestand."

Happy birthday(s): Todd Helton and Cory Sullivan both celebrated birthdays on Monday. Helton turned 34 and Sullivan 28.

Next up: The Rockies continue their four-game series with the Pirates on Tuesday at Coors Field with Elmer Dessens (1-1, 7.32 ERA) getting his second start for the Rockies. Tony Armas will go for the Pirates (2-3, 6.58). Game time is 7:05 p.m. MT

C.J. Moore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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