Gonzalez getting call for Rockies

Gonzalez getting call for Rockies

HOUSTON -- Carlos Gonzalez's time has come to make an impact on the Rockies.

Gonzalez, a gifted left-handed outfield prospect, was considered the potential gem in the trade that sent All-Star left fielder Matt Holliday to the Athletics. But the Rockies saw flaws in his swing when he arrived, and injuries late in camp prevented him from making up the ground.

But Gonzalez has hit .339 with 10 home runs, 12 doubles, seven triples and 59 RBIs at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Now Rockies manager Jim Tracy, who listened as then-manager Clint Hurdle sent Gonzalez down to the Minors and told him what he needed to do, is convinced that he's ready. Gonzalez will join the Rockies on Friday night when they open a three-game set with the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

"He has answered the bell and adhered to the message that was given to him," Tracy said. "When you've been doing the damage that he's been doing in Triple-A, you've got to move."

Matt Murton was optioned to Colorado Springs, but the outfield is crowded nonetheless, with switch-hitting Dexter Fowler in center, right-handed-hitting Ryan Spilborghs and left-handed-hitting Seth Smith in left and potential All-Star Brad Hawpe in right. But make no mistake, there's room for Gonzalez, who hit .242 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 61 games with the Athletics last season. Smith stands to lose some starts.

"It's going to be interesting to see how I figure all that out, but when you have almost 60 RBIs [in Triple-A], I'll accept the challenge," Tracy said. "We're not bringing him here to be a part-time player, I can tell you that now."

In another move, the Rockies designated struggling right-hander Jason Grilli for assignment and will activate righty Matt Daley from his rehab assignment for a left foot sprain. Daley had earned important innings with the Rockies, and has shown health by throwing scoreless ball on his rehab assignment.

The Rockies hope Grilli (0-1, 6.05 ERA) can find control and command in the Minors. Grilli also could be claimed off waivers by another club, but if that doesn't happen Tracy hopes he accepts the assignment to Colorado Springs.

Pitching matchup
COL: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (0-6, 5.43 ERA)
Tracy said De La Rosa is as talented as any starter on the squad, but that he lacks one attribute -- the ability to get out of trouble. That was lacking again in De La Rosa's last start as he allowed a three-run homer on a 0-2 fastball with two outs to Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez. De La Rosa pitched five innings and gave up four runs, but it could have been worse if Gonzalez wasn't gunned down at the plate to end the fifth.

STL: RHP Adam Wainwright (5-3, 3.38 ERA)
After three successive superb outings, Wainwright was merely pretty good his last time out, and that won't sit well with him. One of Wainwright's best attributes is his unwillingness to settle for anything short of outstanding. Wainwright has pitched at least seven innings in four consecutive starts, and after issuing 18 walks in his first five games, he has handed out only 10 free passes in his past six.

An MRI on Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's sore left hand revealed swelling and soft tissue damage, but no damage to ligaments or bones. Tulowitzki went through pregame activities and said he felt good. It's unclear when the Rockies will start him or use him in a game again. ... The Rockies' 14 hits in Thursday night's 10-3 victory over the Astros were their most in a game since a season-high 17 against the Padres on April 27.

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Up next
• Saturday: Rockies (Aaron Cook, 3-3, 4.94) at Cardinals (Todd Wellemeyer, 5-5, 5.05), 5:15 p.m. MT
• Sunday: Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez, 3-6, 4.11) at Cardinals (Joel Pineiro, 5-5, 3.86), 12:15 p.m. MT
• Monday: Rockies (Jason Marquis, 7-4, 4.10) at Cardinals (Brad Thompson, 0-1, 4.12), 12:15 p.m. MT

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.