Quick Hits: Valaika In Line to Return From Albuquerque Quicker Than Expected

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With David Murphy likely headed to the injured list, it would provide an opportunity for the return of Pat Valaika. Valaika, the last roster cut of the spring, showed signs of bouncing back from his disappointing 2018 during the spring. Valaika hit .286 with four home runs and 13 RBI.

Murphy will be re-examined by doctors on Monday, but indications on Saturday were that he suffered a broken left index finger making a diving play on Friday night, and would be placed on the injured list. He finished the Friday game, but by Saturday morning the pain had reached a point he realized the problem wasn’t just soreness.

The final roster decision of spring training came down to keeping veteran Mark Reynolds, who was planning to retire if he didn’t make the Opening Day roster, and sending Valaika, who still had an option, to Triple-A Albuquerque.

Now, Reynolds figures to get some playing time at first place in the absence of Murphy, much like 2017 when Reynolds came to spring training on a minor league deal and wound up becoming the Rockies primary first baseman when Ian Desmond suffered a broken hand during spring training.

Valaika, who hit .258 for the Rockies in 2017 as a utility player, struggled a year ago, finishing the season at .156, and spent 37 games at Triple-A Albuquerque, where he hit .216.

Valaika provides the Rockies with a threat off the bench, but also has played all four infield positions and left field at the big-league level.

n The struggles continue for Rockies lefthander Tyler Anderson, who allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings of Saturday’s 7-3 loss at Miami. Anderson is now 1-7 with a 6.28 ERA in 13 starts since last year’s All-Star Break. The Rockies are 2-11 in those 13 games. The one victory was 12-0 against the Nationals in the final game of the 2018 regular season, which led to the Rockies going to Los Angeles for a one-game showdown to decide the NL West champion and a wild-card. The Rockies lost the game and wound up the wild-card.

n The Rockies wins by Kyle Freeland and German Marquez in the first two games of the season at Miami marked the second time in franchise history that the Rockies had back-to-back quality starts while allowing two or fewer hits each game, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Franklin Morales and Aaron Cook combined for the other two April 6-7, 2008, against the D-backs and Braves.

n Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond is no stranger to the Marlins. Signed bs an undrafted player by the Marlins in August of 1992, he played for the Marlins from 1998-2004, and then managed the team from 2013-15.

n With Ian Desmond getting Sunday off, David Dahl was moved from left field to center field, and Raimel Tapia received the start in left field. Tapia pinch-hit in each of the first three games of the series. He was hitless, striking out in two of the three at-bats.