Young provides flexibility with Hawpe on DL

Young provides flexibility with Hawpe on DL

DENVER -- The Rockies decided Sunday that right fielder Brad Hawpe was too important to risk further damage to his already strained left quadriceps.

They also decided that utility speedster Eric Young Jr. had too much to offer -- despite a slow start at Triple-A Colorado Springs -- to pass up the chance to bring him to the Majors.

Hawpe, who has been battling the injury for a couple of weeks, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday, and Young was called up. Young knocked a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning of Sunday's 8-4 victory over the Marlins at Coors Field.

Hawpe has a .357 batting average (15-for-42) with three home runs and seven RBIs this season. Hawpe, who originally suffered the injury during the Rockies' last homestand, left the first game of Saturday's doubleheader with the Marlins, a 4-1 Rockies loss, after four innings.

"You'd love to put that bat in the lineup, the way that thing is going through the zone right now," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy. "But you can't take the chance on him running past first base and grabbing a hold of it, knowing that he's pulled it, and now you're hearing 4-6 weeks."

The 25-year-old Young was called up late last season and hit .246 with a home run. He mostly played center field as the Rockies completed their run to the playoffs. Before the promotion, Young was hitting .228 (13-for-57) with six walks at Colorado Springs, playing primarily second base but also seeing time in left field. He was 3-for-3 on steal attempts and led the Sky Sox with nine runs scored.

"If you've seen the player before, you know the history of the player," Tracy said. "He's going to figure all that stuff out, you know that."

Young's presence is seen as opening several strategic options.

Leadoff man Carlos Gonzalez is hitting .308, but went 2-for-14 during the three-game set with the Marlins. Gonzalez, however, has the power to hit lower in the order, so Tracy said he could use Young and regular No. 2 hitter Dexter Fowler in some combination at the top of the order. Tracy also said Young's presence and ability to be used as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner also gives him flexibility in his use of veteran reserve infielder Melvin Mora.