Cuddyer could spend minimum time on DL

Cuddyer could spend minimum time on DL

CHICAGO -- Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said it is possible outfielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer can go on a rehab assignment and return from the 15-day disabled list when he is eligible on May 24, based on how Cuddyer's neck has responded to treatment for past injuries.

Cuddyer underwent an MRI in Denver on Monday. The results weren't immediately known, but Dugger did not expect any surprises. Cuddyer suffered a bulging disc in the C6-C7 area in 2004, and it flared up again in '11. This is the first incident since.

Dugger said the plan is for Cuddyer to take an epidural shot to "break that little spasm cycle," and that "it's usually just a few days."

Dugger said it's good news that Cuddyer doesn't have pain radiating down his arms. Cuddyer can gradually work to regain range of motion and strength about two days after the shot.

Cuddyer will need a brief Minor League rehab assignment once cleared to play, Dugger said.

Charlie Blackmon, promoted when Cuddyer went to the disabled list Sunday, made his second straight start in left field Monday after going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer in Sunday's 8-2 victory against the Cardinals.

Manager Walt Weiss said Blackmon and Eric Young, Jr., will both have opportunities to start in Cuddyer's absence. The Rockies have carried just four outfielders this season. Weiss said it's too early to think about whether to keep five, as many teams do, when Cuddyer returns.

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.