Tracy gives Cuddyer break from starting lineup

Tracy gives Cuddyer break from starting lineup

DENVER -- Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer earned a day off Thursday as he works through a fallow stretch at the plate.

Cuddyer entered Thursday hitting .256 on the season, with 11 homers (tied for second most on the club) and 47 RBIs (second on the club), but he had struggled of late, hitting .098 (4-for-41) over his last 10 games.

"The first few days in this series, it appears as though he's grinding really hard, and there's something that he's searching for, so we're going to give him the day and give him the opportunity to not mentally grind, and also have an arena to find whatever it is that seems to be missing," manager Jim Tracy said.

Cuddyer has been a solid addition to the Rockies' lineup, and along with Carlos Gonzalez, he has provided veteran leadership for a club missing cleanup hitter Troy Tulowitzki.

Tracy was optimistic that a day without the pressure Cuddyer puts on himself would do the outfielder some good.

"He's such a competitor, and he grinds," Tracy said. "He wants to make such a contribution to this club each and every day. We're doing him a service, and we're doing the ballclub a service, just by allowing him to get away from it for a day. Don't mentally grind through the nine innings, and take the opportunity to mentally relax a little bit. Go to the cage and sort some things out."