SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rockies rested first baseman Justin Morneau and put Wilin Rosario at first base Sunday for the first time this season to keep his right-handed bat in the lineup while saving some of the wear and tear from his usual catching.
Morneau (.299, 11 homers, 42 RBIs in 65 games) has had heavy usage because Michael Cuddyer, the usual right fielder who often spelled Morneau at first, is out with a fracture in his left shoulder socket. Manager Walt Weiss wanted to load the lineup with right-handed hitters against Giants lefty starter Madison Bumgarner, so he gave Rosario his fifth career start and sixth appearance at first.
Putting Rosario at first base to keep his power bat in the lineup was a frequent offseason discussion, and he played some first in Spring Training. But after the regular season started, the subject didn't come up until around the time Sunday's lineup was posted.
Rosario assured that he had a first baseman's glove in his equipment bag, but "I've got to find it."
Weiss has wanted backup catcher Michael McKenry working with recent callups Christian Bergman and Tyler Matzek, since McKenry worked with them at Triple-A Colorado Springs. As a result, Rosario started just seven of the 12 games going into Sunday. McKenry was 4-for-5 over his last two games, but eventually the Rockies will have Rosario catch the youngsters to make sure his bat isn't out of the lineup long.
"He'll catch the young guys plenty," Weiss said. "With Mac out there, I wanted to make sure they're comfortable in their debuts. But we have two or three young guys that are probably going to be in the rotation, so [Rosario] is going to catch them and catch them a lot."
The Rockies can't lean hard on Rosario at first base. He went into Sunday with three career errors and some generally awkward play at the position.
Tulowitzki back in lineup after toe improves
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki returned to the lineup Sunday with extra support in his right shoe, after not starting Saturday because of a middle toe injury he suffered Friday night.
Tulowitzki left Friday's game after feeling the pain while running out his ninth-inning single. After passing medical tests Saturday, he didn't believe he could run well enough to start but did have a pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning.
"After we got the X-ray and the MRI and it came back all right, I felt I was going to be in a good spot today," Tulowitzki said before Sunday's series finale vs. the Giants. "It was a little bit of a scare for me just because of my history. Sometimes when it happens, you think the worst."
Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger, who made sure Tulowitzki still felt good after taking batting practice and ground balls, said a shank, or metal insert, was placed in Tulowitzki's shoe so he doesn't rise as high on his toes.
Weiss has faith in Ottavino despite June swoon
SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-hander Adam Ottavino was one of the Rockies' most dependable relievers over the season's first two months, when he posted a 1.46 ERA in 27 games. But, counting Saturday's one-inning appearance when he gave up a run, his ERA is 15.00 in seven June appearances.
Manager Walt Weiss insisted Sunday that there isn't a major issue with Ottavino.
On Saturday, Ottavino struck out two and had the same extreme action on his out pitch, his slider.
"I don't see anything," Weiss said. "He's throwing the ball well. He was so dominant early on, I think people expect him to do that for six months. It's extremely rare in this game, next to impossible, to dominate for six months. He's feeling well physically, he's very durable, feels good. I'm not worried about him."
Weiss said he is keeping an eye on Ottavino to make sure he's staying the course and not making unnecessary and potentially damaging corrections.
"That's the challenge for every player, because every player is going to struggle at some point, and they have to believe in what they do, be convicted to it," Weiss said. "I call them your values as a player -- your values as a hitter, your values as a pitcher, what's important to you. You've got to stick to those when times get rough."