DENVER -- Sunday was a well-appreciated rest day for Rockies outfielder Willy Taveras. He just hopes it's his last. Taveras is scheduled to run the bases on Monday, with hopes of being ready to return from strained right quadriceps in time to play in a National League playoff series. Of course, the Rockies will have to make the playoffs for him to have games to return to, and he'll have to prove he's healthy before the club would add him to the playoff roster. Taveras, who has a .320 batting average and 33 stolen bases, hasn't played since Sept. 8. Taveras had spent Aug. 15-31 on the disabled list with the same injury. The original injury occurred just before the All-Star break.
Taveras said he has been running regularly, but the team's trainers scheduled Sunday as a day off. That meant he could wait nervously as the Rockies attempted to beat the Diamondbacks and hoped the Brewers beat the Padres. That combination would put the Rockies in a tiebreaker for the Wild Card, possibly as early as Monday. If the Rockies make it in, Taveras could be back. Taveras said he has been running all week and has run the bases once, but he wasn't able to reach top speed. Because speed is such a factor in his game -- he leads the Majors in bunt hits (37) and infield hits (54) even though he has been limited to 97 games -- he can't play gimpy. "If I'm able to run the bases, I want to play," Taveras said. "I'm sure I can go in the first round. If I'm running well, I can go. But it's up to the coaches to decide if they want to play me." Taveras isn't the only injured Rockies player hoping the season extends. Right-handed pitchers Aaron Cook (strained oblique) and Jason Hirsh (fractured right fibula) will be eligible to return from the 60-day DL if the Rockies advance to the National League Division Series. The last time: When the Rockies went to the playoffs in 1995, they had to watch the scoreboard, then win on the final day. The Rockies needed an Astros loss or a win over the Giants. Earlier in the day, the Astros overcame a six-run deficit to beat the Cubs, 8-7. So the scoreboard didn't help. Then Rockies starter Bret Saberhagen fell behind in the third inning, 8-2, before manager Don Baylor pulled him. But Eric Young and Larry Walker hit two-run homers in the third, and a four-run fifth put them on their way to a 10-9 victory.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.