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Wheeler odd man out as Rox keep 13 pitchers

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DENVER -- On Monday afternoon, it was left-handed-hitting corner infielder Ryan Wheeler's turn to learn that it wasn't him, it was the roster.

After being called up for a weekend series with the Mets and contributing in a couple of wins, Wheeler was optioned back to Triple-A Colorado Springs to make room for righty reliever Nick Masset.

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Wheeler was 2-for-4, with one hit a pinch-hit single and the other a home run that started an eight-run, fifth-inning rally in Saturday night's 11-10 victory.

Like outfielder Corey Dickerson and infielders Charlie Culberson and Josh Rutledge, Wheeler is part of the crew that could be up and down often because of roster purposes. With the club playing the next seven days, five on the road, manager Walt Weiss decided to go with 13 pitchers.

"Maybe it's wishful thinking that you've finally stuck, but when I got here I said there were 40 guys that can play -- and you have Masset, who just got added [to the 40-man Major League roster]," Wheeler said. "It's the reason we're winning right now. Maybe for the individual it's tough.

"My four days here were really fun. It goes back to how good everyone in this organization is. I'm getting older."

If the Rockies need a left-handed bat who can provide power in a spot start or late in a game, Wheeler plans to be ready.

"I'm getting older and I feel I'm in the prime of my career, and it's not the time to come up here and play scared," said Wheeler, 25. "This is my time. I want to show them it is, too. I've got some other minds to change, too."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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