DENVER -- Wilin Rosario's smile is as big as ever, even if he isn't.
Rosario returned to the Rockies on Sunday morning, after missing 12 games with a vicious flu, at 219 pounds -- nine pounds less than his usual playing weight.
He was in the lineup in the series finale against the Padres batting seventh after playing a full game Friday night and three innings Saturday night on an injury rehab assignment at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
The rehab was the end of a long road back from the terrible place he was on May 2, when he willed his way through a 10-3 victory over the Mets. He dealt with body soreness, dry eyes and often had to interrupt his at-bats for his uncomfortable and futile cough. He somehow managed an infield hit that night.
"I never got this before in my life, and I don't want anybody to have this," Rosario said. "At one point, I felt like, I don't know, I might ... I don't want to say that. But I felt like if I pass away or something like that ...
"At some point, the light bothers your eyes a lot and you can't open them. I felt like I couldn't walk around because I'd get dizzy. You don't have [an appetite] to eat because you feel if put something [in your stomach], you throw up. It's bad, man."
The virus hit the Rockies' hard. Rosario's case wasn't even the worst. Infielder Josh Rutledge went on the 15-day disabled list a few days before Rosario. He has since been optioned to Colorado Springs and is still recovering.
"Josh still looks skinny," Rosario said. "You can see him skinny. But we're getting there. We keep eating good, a lot of carbohydrates so you can recover."
Rockies manager Walt Weiss is happy to see Rosario. On Tuesday, Michael Cuddyer is expected to return from a left hamstring injury that has kept him out since April 18. It'll be the first time since April 18 that the Opening Day lineup has been together, yet the Rockies went into Sunday with a 24-20 record, three games behind the National League West-leading Giants.
"He's another weapon, another dangerous bat to out in the lineup," Weiss said of Rosario. "Yeah, but Bull does a look a little smaller. But it's good to have him back in the lineup.
"No doubt about it, he's another one of our guys who can hit it into the seats. We have a number of those guys."
Rosario said he isn't 100 percent, but he feels good enough to play and figures the rest of his recovery will come.
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.