DENVER -- Last year, the effect of outfielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer on the Rockies was muted. An oblique strain in July and a lengthy adjustment to the National League after he spent 11 years with the Twins slowed the veteran slugger.
This year, Cuddyer is flying, to the tune of a .333 average with seven home runs, eight doubles and 24 RBIs going into Tuesday night's opener of a three-game set with the Yankees at Coors Field. He finished last season with a .260 batting average, a dropoff from his .272 career mark, but he had 16 home runs, 30 doubles and two triples.
Cuddyer, a proven run producer on contending Twins teams, said the Rockies' lineup -- he usually hits behind Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki -- has given him lots of opportunities.
"The big thing is feeding off everybody else," Cuddyer said. "A whole lot goes into it. Pitchers are now worried about everybody in the lineup. They don't want to make mistakes to certain guys, and end up making mistakes. You don't want to be the guy to stop the train from moving. And a lot of it is good hitting, and some of it is luck. I've had a few infield hits, too."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.