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Fowler in pain, but returns to starting lineup

Fowler in pain, but returns to starting lineup

Fowler in pain, but returns to starting lineup

WASHINGTON -- Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler's mood was better Friday than Thursday, even if nothing else was.

Before Thursday night's game against the Nationals, Fowler feared that the bone bruise on his right ring finger, an injury he suffered the previous Thursday, was actually a break. But an X-ray alleviated that fear, and Fowler was back in the starting lineup Friday, going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk in the Rockies' 2-1 loss.

"It feels about the same, but I'm playing," Fowler said.

Manager Walt Weiss had held Fowler to just limited pinch-running appearances the last three days, hoping the finger would heal.

"Dexter is ready to go," Weiss said. "Hand injuries are tough in this game because it's hard to swing the bat. I just wanted to make sure he was right. Our outfielders have been banged up."

Several problems stemmed from Fowler's lack of full availability.

The Rockies were using just four outfielders and Fowler was the only center fielder. Not only was there a dropoff in range when the Rockies went with Tyler Colvin, who couldn't get to Adam LaRoche's two-run triple in Thursday's 5-1 loss, but had Colvin been hurt, the Rockies would have been in a bind. Carlos Gonzalez played center at a Gold-Glove level a few years back, but when the Rockies were using him all over the outfield, he was constantly nicked up. Last year and this year, the Rockies have stuck with leaving him in left.

Weiss said the Rockies recently discussed approaching Gonzalez about playing center on a limited basis, but instead decided to go back to five outfielders. The Rockies purchased the contract of left-handed-hitting Corey Dickerson from Triple-A Colorado Springs before Friday night's game. Dickerson was leading the Pacific Coast League in hitting at .386, triples with 13 and OPS at 1.075.

The move adds Dickerson to a bench unit that also includes Colvin and Jordan Pacheco -- players Weiss must find at-bats for to keep them sharp, since their main role will be as pinch-hitters. Weiss said Dickerson has a low-maintenance swing, which could help him deal with sporadic playing time.

The Rockies designated right-handed pitcher Logan Kensing for assignment to make room for Dickerson.

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.

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