DENVER -- Finally, after a frantic Major League debut, in which he had to borrow equipment from his teammates, Josh Rutledge is finding it easier to breathe.
"It's been better the past day," Rutledge said at his locker on Sunday, before the Rockies began their series finale against the Phillies. "The first day was a little hectic, but it has been awesome."
Hours after he was called up from Double-A Tulsa on Friday to replace Todd Helton (15-day disabled list, left hip inflammation), Rutledge became the second player in franchise history to go 2-for-2 with 2 RBIs in his first game. Derrick Gibson did it in 1998.
Rutledge went 0-for-3 in Saturday's loss, but drew a walk and scored a run. The former All-SEC shortstop -- selected in the third round of the 2010 Draft out of Alabama -- is learning to temper the expectations that may come after such a sterling debut.
"I'm not really worried about hits," said Rutledge, who was the Rockies Organization Player of the Month in August of 2011. "I'm just trying to get in the box and have a good at-bat, get on base, score some runs. Anything I can do to help the club."
Rutledge knows his status with the big league club is uncertain, with Helton and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki both expected to return this season. The Rockies have him staying in a hotel downtown for the time being -- "We'll see what happens with that," Rutledge said -- but they could at least give him a nameplate above his locker in the clubhouse, which remains blank.
"I don't know where that is," Rutledge said with a laugh. "But I'm not worried about it -- as long as I'm here."