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Nelson turning heads with improved play

Nelson heating up at the plate

Nelson turning heads with improved play
DENVER -- Rockies infielder Chris Nelson is demonstrating why he earned an Opening Day start this season.

Nelson began the year as the Rockies' third baseman, but suffered a left-wrist injury in late April, and found himself hitting .219 through May 14 before the Rockies placed him on the 15-day disabled list. Between his June 1 return and Sunday's start against the Angels, Nelson -- now stationed at second base -- he hit 4-for-10 (.400) with two home runs.

"My biggest problem before was my wrist hurt; now that it feels good, this is where I need to be," Nelson said.

The way Nelson struggled through pain made it easy to forget that he finished last year strong, and turned in some of the team's best at-bats this spring while earning a starting job.

"Case in point was the home run he hit yesterday [off the Angels' Dan Haren] -- a line drive that kept right on carrying," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "There's more bat speed. It's evident. There were things going on with that wrist that needed to be taken care of."

In Nelson's absence, rookie Jordan Pacheco put up strong numbers (.291 going into Sunday) as the third baseman. Nelson realizes he might have to be patient before he gets another run at playing time.

"That's the way it happens," Nelson said. "You've just got to come back and find out where you fit in. It's not an issue with me at all."

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