DENVER -- Seeing his name linked to a rumored destination is a rite of summer for Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez as the July 31 Trade Deadline approaches. Hernandez, 36, was linked to trade rumors the last three years while with the Reds. He signed a two-year, $6.4 million contract with the Rockies this past offseason, but with the club 34-54 going into Monday night's game against the Pirates, once again he has the appeal of being a veteran catcher that contending clubs covet. Hernandez's contract gives him no say-so over trades, but he said Monday he has already received the next-best thing -- open communication. Hernandez missed 42 games with a left hand strain, but before he returned, reports said the Mets were trying to trade for him. At first opportunity, Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd offered him a promise that he won't have to go to the rumor mill for his information.
"He came to me," Hernandez said. "He told me if something is going on, I would be the first one he lets know, and I love that. When the GM comes up and says, 'You may hear a bunch of rumors, but if something's going to happen, I will let you know.' It relaxed me. "You can't let that affect you. I'm happy. I hope I stay here. It's business. Sometimes a team makes a move to get better in the future and you can help another team." Hernandez (.206, four homers, 16 RBIs) will share playing time with rookie Wilin Rosario, who is a work in progress defensively and in learning opposing hitters, but he leads Major League rookies with 15 homers and has 39 RBIs. Since Spring Training, Hernandez has offered advice and help. "He's doing way better than what he was when he first came to camp," Hernandez said. "He's settling down. He's relaxing. You have to be totally relaxed, no matter what's going on, but if you let the game catch up to you, everything's going to be fast and you'll get lost. No matter what happens, you have to keep your five senses and always be thinking, looking, figuring what you can do to get out of a mess. I'm here to help him." Manager Jim Tracy said, "For [Rosario] to catch a couple of days, then take a break to give Ramon the opportunities that we want to give him as we try to ramp him back up, that's a healthy thing."