The Denver Post - - SPORTS - — Pa­trick Saun­ders, The Den­ver Post

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.

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