Cardullo capitalizing on opportunities

Cardullo capitalizing on opportunities

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Stephen Cardullo is showing the Rockies once more that a sliver of opportunity is more than enough for him to make an impression.

Cardullo singled and doubled during the Rockies' 5-1 win over the Giants on Friday night. He is hitting .364 with two home runs -- both grand slams -- and 12 RBIs in 18 games.

Signed out of independent ball before last season, Cardullo hit .308 in 115 games at Triple-A Albuquerque and earned his Major League debut on Aug. 26. He hit .214 with two homers in 27 games. Both homers came during a doubleheader against the Dodgers on Aug. 31, his 29th birthday.

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Cardullo's RBI double to right

The Rockies removed Cardullo from the 40-man Major League roster after the season, but he still saw an opportunity as a non-roster invitee. Having played all over the infield and outfield during his pro career -- which started with two seasons in the D-backs' chain, followed by four in independent leagues -- he prepared for anything in camp.

"I just wanted to come in, playing for a new manager, being in my first big league Spring Training, showcase what I can do as a player, and I came in just prepared to play first base, left field, right field," Cardullo said. "I knew some players were playing in the World Baseball Classic and that would give me an opportunity to have more at-bats and be seen."

Worth noting

• Catcher Tony Wolters has experimented this week with a hockey-style mask after using the old-time mask-over-helmet system. Wolters missed 11 games last June while under concussion protocol, and he adopted the new mask because it had "good concussion numbers. ... I've got to protect the melon."

Wolters said the new mask is taking some getting used to, but he likes the way the chin portion protects him when balls bounce in front of him. He's also considering leaving it on for pop fouls. If he goes with the new mask, he plans to employ three -- black, silver and purple.

• Righty relief prospect Ryan Gonzalez has ligament damage in his right elbow and may be headed toward surgery.

• The Rockies optioned Gonzalez, who wasn't going to make the Opening Day roster, and right-handers Zach Jemiola and Shane Carle to Minor League camp.

• Outfielder David Dahl underwent an MRI on his injured rib on Friday. The results are yet unknown, but the hope is that he will begin physical activity soon.

• Righty reliever Chad Qualls, who hasn't pitched since March 1 because of soreness in his right forearm, made 25 throws at 60 feet on Friday. He was originally scheduled to begin throwing on Monday, but the training staff wanted him to have several days of strengthening exercises first.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.