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

ST. LOUIS» The Rock­ies en­tered Tues­day night’s game against St. Louis 11K games be­hind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Na­tional League West and tied with Ari­zona for the NL’s top wild-card spot.

You don’t have to tell Nolan Are­nado that. The all-star third base­man has been score­board watch­ing for quite some time.

“Shoot, I’ve been do­ing it since be­fore the All-Star Game,” Are­nado said. “When we started los­ing all of those games in that one stretch, I was like, ‘Oh, God!’

“I was watch­ing all of that. Be­cause when you start los­ing games, you’re like, ‘Oh, man, I hope the other teams are los­ing, too.’ ”

The Rock­ies have a re­al­is­tic shot for their first post­sea­son trip since 2009, and that has en­er­gized Are­nado. There is no “take it one game at a time” from the third base­man. He has never even sniffed the play­offs in his five sea­sons in the ma­jors, so he’s jazzed to be in a pen­nant race in late July.

“Ev­ery game is mean­ing­ful, and it’s fun,” he said. “I feel like when I come to the field now, it’s like, ‘Man, I’ve got to get ready to go to­day.’ Be­cause in years past it was kind of like, ‘Man, I’m kind of tired. I just hope I get a cou­ple of knocks.’

“But now, I’m like, ‘Man, I hope I get some RBIs and do my part, be­cause we have to win to­day.’ These are mean­ing­ful base­ball games. I’m lov­ing this.” Fos­ter checks out OK. When Steve Fos­ter ex­pe­ri­enced chest pains Mon­day while he was out for a morn­ing run, he had plenty of rea­son to be con­cerned. He knew it was wise to go to a hos­pi­tal and get checked out.

“I have a fam­ily his­tory,” the Rock­ies pitch­ing coach said Tues­day af­ter spend­ing the night at Mercy Heart Hos­pi­tal. “My father had a heart at­tack when he was 48, and I’m 50. That alerted (the doc­tors) im­me­di­ately, and they wanted to hold me overnight.”

Fos­ter missed Mon­day’s game, but he was given a clean bill of health and re­turned to his coach­ing du­ties Tues­day as the Rock­ies took on St. Louis in the sec­ond game of the se­ries. Fos­ter un­der­went a tread­mill stress test Tues­day morn­ing and also had an EKG and blood­work. He cleared all of the tests.

“They ruled out that there was any heart episode, and they ruled out any clot­ting in the lungs,” Fos­ter said. “They said that I just need to be very care­ful and pay close at­ten­tion. They told me my risk level was times 10, be­cause I’ve had this in my fam­ily, so I have to watch what I do.” Ros­ter shuf­fle. Right-handed re­liever Car­los Estevez was re­called from Triple-A Al­bu­querque on Tues­day, and the club op­tioned strug­gling rookie righthander Jairo Diaz back to Triple-A.

Díaz, 26, was re­called on July 17, his sec­ond ap­pear­ance on the Rock­ies’ 25-man ros­ter this sea­son. He has a 9.00 ERA, with five walks and two strike­outs in four ap­pear­ances.

“With Jairo, two main things come into play,” man­ager Bud Black said. “I think there is a con­fi­dence fac­tor … and I don’t think he was con­fi­dent with how he was throw­ing. And he’s had an er­ratic com­mand of his fast­ball.”

Estevez, 24, is on the bigleague ros­ter for the fifth time this sea­son. He is 4-0 with a 8.10 ERA, six walks and 18 strike­outs in 18 games.

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