DENVER -- At a time when the pieces of the outfield playing time pie figure to become narrower, the Rockies' Drew Stubbs has shown he deserves his piece.
Stubbs did not start Sunday's finale against the Padres, but in his previous three games he was 6-for-12 with a home run, a double, two RBIs and two stolen bases.
Charlie Blackmon's emergence at the start of the season meant less playing time for Stubbs. But Stubbs gained playing time after Michael Cuddyer suffered a left hamstring injury on April 17. From April 29 through Saturday, Stubbs batted .409 (18-for-44) with three home runs and five doubles, and was 4-for-4 on stolen base attempts.
It's not clear how Stubbs will fit in the playing time rotation when Cuddyer returns for Tuesday's start of a three-game set with the Giants, but Stubbs has defined himself as an option.
"You've just got to keep in mind that the season is so long, and you've got to be ready at the drop of a hat," Stubbs said. "That's what I continue to tell myself, make sure you're ready and be patient with the situation. I never fails that there is going to be an injury or this or that."
This is the first time Stubbs, who played for the Reds (2009-12) and the Indians (2013), went into a season not necessarily being counted on for regular playing time.
But throughout his career, he has paid special attention to players who have been in that position. Former Rockie Jason Giambi was that player in Cleveland last season. While with the Reds, he learned from how shortstop Edgar Renteria handled his sporadic opportunities.
"It was 2011 and Paul Janish [now with the Rockies' Triple-A team in Colorado Springs] was the shortstop, and Edgar was an afterthought coming in," Stubbs said. "After the team started struggling he started being inserted into the lineup, and down the stretch he ended up being in there every day.
"His locker was next to mine and I remember him saying, 'Even though I'm not in there all the time, I try to contribute in some way.' It's funny how I happens. A lot of times it comes full-circle and you get to do it on the field, too."
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.