PARRA’S RETURN WILL PROVIDE INSURANCE
The Rockies are missing Gerardo Parra, not only for the offense he provides but for his positional versatility as well.
The calf injury that put Ian Desmond on the 10-day disabled list Monday leaves the Rockies thin at first base behind starter Mark Reynolds. Rookie Pat Valaika is now next in line, but Parra will become the primary backup when he returns from his Triple-A rehab assignment.
“The thing with ‘Dezi’ that was sort of a blow was that Reynolds was mired in a little bit of a funk and it would have been nice to give Desmond time at first and keep giving (Raimel) Tapia time in the outfield,” manager Bud Black said Wednesday. “Hopefully, the two hits Mark had (Tuesday) will give him a little bit of momentum going forward. But it will be great to have Parra back. He’s one of our best players.”
Parra, who went 0-for-2 on Tuesday night for Triple-A Albuquerque, expects to rejoin the Rockies on Friday in time for a weekend series against the Chicago White Sox. Parra has been on the disabled list since June 7 because of a strained right quadriceps.
“He plays a game that all of us sort of like,” Black said. “He sprays the ball all over the field. He can hit the ball in the gap, and he can homer. He runs the bases hard, and he can make a play in the outfield.
“Plus, he’s got a personality to him — prior to the game and in the dugout. His is a nice teammate-type of personality.”
Parra was hitting .318 with six home runs, six doubles, 28 RBIs and a .348 on-base percentage at the time of his injury. Home run Charlie. Charlie Blackmon on Wednesday took batting practice before the team’s batting practice, trying to loft pitches from bullpen coach Darren Holmes over the Coors Field fence. Holmes will pitch to Blackmon in the home run derby Monday in Miami as part of the All-Star Game festivities. It was good practice for both of them.
Blackmon also listened to advice from Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond, a former player and manager in Miami who is familiar with Marlins Park. He had some specific hints to help Blackmon in the home run derby.
“He said, ‘Yank it down the line,’ because the rest of the park is huge,” Blackmon said. “It’s true.”
Blackmon will match up against Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger in the first round of the derby. Black, on Freeland. The day after left-hander Kyle Freeland got blitzed by Cincinnati, giving up five runs on eight hits over 5 L innings, Black had more to say about the rookie’s struggles.
The Reds’ Billy Hamilton hit a low pitch for a two-run single in the second inning, and Freeland let it get to him. That can’t happen, Black said.
“Every game is a learning experience,” Black said. “Billy Hamilton’s hit in the second inning — that slider that was sort of down around his shoe tops and he somehow dug it out and lifted into left field — you have to learn that those things happen. You have to keep going, and not be frustrated by those things, because they are going to happen.”
Black continued: “The next pitch is the most important one. I think Kyle knows that.” Footnotes. Second baseman DJ LeMahieu continues to be slowed by a strained right groin and was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game Wednesday night. He said he’s slowly getting better, but he’s not at full speed right now. “It doesn’t feel as good as I wish, but I can still do some things to help our team win,” he said. … Infielder Ryan McMahon was named the Pacific Coast League player of the month Wednesday. In his first month at Triple-A Albuquerque, he led the PCL with 50 hits, including 21 for extra bases.