DENVER – The Colorado Rockies announced today that the club has selected the contracts of infielder Josh Rutledge and right-handed pitcher Mike Ekstrom. The Rockies have also reinstated catcher Ramon Hernandez from the 15-day DL. Colorado has placed both infielder Todd Helton on the 15-day DL with right hip inflammation, and catcher Wil Nieves on the 15-day DL with turf toe in his right foot. Both player’s placement on the DL is retroactive to July 9th. Additionally, the Rockies have optioned right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood to Double-A Tulsa. To clear room on the 40-man roster, the Rockies have transferred left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Rutledge (#14), Ekstrom (#47) and Hernandez (#55) are all in uniform and available for the Rockies tonight vs. Philadelphia (6:40 p.m. MDT).
Rutledge, 23, has spent the entire 2012 season at Double-A Tulsa, where he has batted .306 (109-for-356) with 27 doubles, 3 triples, 13 home runs, 35 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 87 games. Rutledge was named to the Texas League Mid-Season All-Star team. The Cullman, AL native was a California League Post-Season All-Star in his first full professional season in 2011. With High-A Modesto last season he batted .348 (160-for-460) with 33 doubles, 9 triples, 9 home runs, 71 RBI and 91 runs. He was drafted by Colorado in the third round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Alabama. Rutledge was rated the 10th-best prospect in the Rockies organization prior to 2012 by Baseball America.
Ekstrom, 28, will be returning to the Major League for his fifth-straight season. He has appeared in Major League games with San Diego (2008-09) and Tampa Bay (2010-11). The right-hander has spent all of 2012 to date at Triple-A Colorado Springs as a reliever. In 37 games this season he has gone 2-1 with one save and a 2.64 ERA (47.2 ip, 14 er), 15 walks and 51 strikeouts. In 36 career Major League games, Ekstrom is 0-3 with a 5.36 ERA (45.1 ip, 27 er), 24 walks and 36 strikeouts. He was signed as a Minor League free agent by Colorado on December 16, 2011, and was a non-roster invitee to Major League Spring Training.
Hernandez, 36, missed 42 games on the disabled list with a left hand strain. The catcher played in four rehab games at Triple-A Colorado Springs and hit .167 (2-for-12) with one home run and 4 RBI. In 27 games for the Rockies this season, he is batting .215 (20-for-93) with 5 doubles, 4 home runs and 15 RBI. The veteran backstop is a .265 (1,315-for-4,966) career hitter with 255 doubles, 165 home runs, 738 RBI and 568 runs scored in 1,484 Major League games with Colorado (2012), Cincinnati (2009-11), Baltimore (2006-08), San Diego (2004-05) and Oakland (1999-2003).
Helton, 38, is batting .235 (52-for-221) with 13 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs and 34 RBI in 63 games for the Rockies this season. The five-time NL All-Star is a career .320 Major League hitter (2,415-for-7,546) with 567 doubles, 36 triples, 354 home runs, 1,342 RBI, 1,358 runs scored and 1,289 walks. Helton is the Rockies career leader in all of those categories except career batting average. This marks Helton’s first DL stint since he was on the 15-day DL with lower back stiffness 7/7-8/3/10.
Nieves, 34, has batted .298 (14-for-47) with 2 doubles, 1 home run and 5 RBI in 16 games for the Rockies since being selected to the Major League roster on 5/25 (Hernandez DL). The veteran catcher has appeared in the Majors in each of the last eight seasons, and nine season total with San Diego (2002), the New York Yankees (2005-07), Washington (2008-10), Milwaukee (2011) and Colorado (2012). He is a .226 career Major League hitter (180-for-798) with 34 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs and 78 RBI in 298 games. The San Juan, Puerto Rico native began the 2012 season at Triple-A Colorado Springs, batting .299 (26-for-87) with 4 doubles, 3 home runs and 14 RBI in 28 games.
Chatwood, 22, was the youngest player on the Rockies Opening Day roster. The right-hander has made seven relief appearances over two stints with Rockies this season. In those seven outings he is 1-1 with one save and a 7.62 ERA (13.0 ip, 11 er), 3 walks and 8 strikeouts. Chatwood has spent the remainder of the season with Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he has gone 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA (37.1 ip, 24 er), 19 walks and 31 strikeouts in nine starts and appearances for the Sky Sox. Chatwood was acquired by Colorado on 11/30/11 in exchange for catcher Chris Iannetta from the Los Angeles Angels. In 34 Major League games/25 starts, Chatwood is 7-12 with a 4.99 ERA (155.0 ip, 86 er), 76 walks and 82 strikeouts.
De La Rosa, 31, has spent the entire 2012 season to date on the disabled list, recovering from ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow (Tommy John) in June 2011. De La Rosa is 54-49 with a 4.90 ERA (769.2 ip, 419 er) in 188 career Major League games, 126 starts. He has played in the Majors for Milwaukee (2004-06), Kansas City (2006-07) and Colorado (2008-11).
The Rockies have a full 40-man roster.