DENVER -- Infielder Josh Rutledge began his third tour with the Rockies insisting that his confidence never wavered during the rough first two stints in the Majors this season.
Rutledge began the year as the starting second baseman, but entering his start at shortstop against the Dodgers on Monday afternoon, he had a .211 Major League average.
He had success at Triple-A Colorado Springs -- a .371 batting average with four home runs, 17 doubles and 24 RBIs in 38 games, as well as a 15-for-30 run. Sky Sox manager Glenallen Hill and hitting coach Dave Hajek helped Rutledge lower his hand position, which the Rockies hope will help him regain his stroke from last season -- .274 with eight home runs and 37 RBIs in 73 games after being called up from Double-A Tulsa.
"I don't think I've lost confidence all year," Rutledge said. "It's just one of those learning years. I ended up starting with my hands a lot lower, and I feel like it loosened me up. My swing wasn't so big. It was really good."
There were also trials in the Minors -- a bout with plantar fasciitis that cost him playing time, and some rough days defensively. However, most observers say not to place much stock in his eight errors because of the tricky infield at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs.
"It helped me with my aggressiveness," Rutledge said. "You can't sit back on anything or it'll eat you up."
Rutledge's struggles allowed DJ LeMahieu to grab control of second base, but Rutledge has a chance to establish a place for himself in the Rockies' future.
"I'm going to give him a chance to perform right away," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's performed really well down in Colorado Springs and he's a very interesting player, as we've seen. So I want to get him involved."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less