Rutledge forced to borrow gear for MLB debut

Rutledge forced to borrow gear for MLB debut

Rutledge forced to borrow gear for MLB debut
DENVER -- Rockies players were dressed and filing onto the field for batting practice Friday, but their starting shortstop for the game against the Phillies -- the newly promoted Josh Rutledge -- was scrambling in street clothes.

The folks at Double-A Tulsa told Rutledge on Thursday that he was being promoted to the Majors. He made it, but his equipment didn't. When he did get dressed and join his teammates, he was wearing Carlos Gonzalez's shoes. Troy Tulowitzki lent him one of his older gloves, several of the bats he's not using while he recovers from left groin surgery, and his white batting gloves with purple decorations.

"Going from last night, not even knowing if I was going to be activated then getting to the ballpark today and seeing that I'm starting, it's unreal, really hard to describe," Rutledge said shortly after the club made up a No. 14 jersey for him. "My parents were in Tulsa last night and they got to share it with me. They're coming to the game."

Rutledge, 23, a third-round pick in 2010 out of the University of Alabama, has been one of the most productive middle infielders in the Rockies' chain. Last year, Rutledge led the Class A California League and had the seventh-highest batting average in the Minor Leagues at .348 at Modesto. This season at Tulsa, he has hit .306 with 13 home runs, 27 doubles, three triples and 27 RBIs in 87 games.

"I could only hope, but I honestly didn't know it would come this soon," Rutledge said. "I couldn't be more excited."

The roster spot opened when Todd Helton was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right hip. Plus, Tulowitzki's injury was a factor. Originally, the Rockies moved veteran second baseman Marco Scutaro to short, but the position was grinding on the 36-year-old. Jonathan Herrera played short before the break, but durability is a concern in his case as well. The plan is for Rutledge to play regularly at shortstop, even though when Tulowitzki returns Rutledge likely will have to move to second base.

Rutledge is practically sight unseen for manager Jim Tracy. Rutledge was in Minor League camp this year, so only on rare occasions when Tracy went to the back fields at the team's complex did he get an extended look at Rutledge.

"I'm sure there are going to be some rough edges, and that's OK, because there were rough edges with Carlos Gonzalez," Tracy said. "There were rough edges with Dexter Fowler, who's doing pretty well right now. There were rough edges along the way with Tyler Colvin and he's doing pretty good right now. There are still some rough edges with Wilin Rosario, although he's making the right statement for himself.

"We have to maintain the same thought process with this young kid that's going to go out there and play shortstop."

Adding Rutledge and right-handed pitcher Mike Ekstrom, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Colorado Springs, meant the Rockies had to clear a spot on their 40-man Major League roster. They did so by transferring left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa (recovering from elbow surgery) from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Players on the 60-day list do not count against the 40 players eligible for Major League service.