'I'd rather just play': Arenado doesn't want day off

'I'd rather just play': Arenado doesn't want day off

PHOENIX -- On game days that end in "y," you just count on third baseman Nolan Arenado being in the Rockies' lineup. It's only when there's a blip, like a two-error game Friday night followed by a hitless one Saturday, that you wonder if even Arenado gets tired.

Guess what? He doesn't. Saturday was Arenado's 79th appearance and 78th start in exactly half a season, 81 games.

"We have a team day off coming up in two days," Arenado said. "I want to play every day. I don't like taking days off. I don't want to pinch-hit. I don't like to do those things.

"When my wrist was hurt, that's the only time I said, 'I need one more day.' Other than that, I don't ask for them. I don't want them. I'd rather just play. The only way I feel I can get comfortable, help the team and feel right is to try to play every single day."

Arenado entered Saturday hitting .283 with a National League-leading 68 RBIs and a team-high 24 home runs, and he has been dominant defensively. Two games didn't change that.

Arenado's two-run tater

Arenado said his lengthy routine, which includes strength training and muscle maintenance before and after games, helps keep him fresh.

"I've got to keep doing it every day," he said. "If I skip a day, say, 'I don't feel like doing it,' I'm going to feel it the next day. I have to take care of my body. I mentally and physically have to do those things. I have to lift, have to get my ice bath, have to get massages. That's what it takes to get me right."

With Arenado not inclined to beg out of a game, the decision of whether he's being worn down rests with manager Walt Weiss.

"There are times I think about it, then I still put him in the lineup," Weiss said. "I pick my spots, but those are few and far between."

Worth noting

• With one out and bases loaded in the ninth inning in Friday night's 4-3, 10-inning loss, Weiss removed right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, whose out ended the previous inning, and inserted Daniel Descalso as a fifth infielder. Pitcher Scott Oberg struck out Yasmany Tomas. Then Weiss put outfielder Ben Paulsen in for Descalso, and Oberg forced Jake Lamb to ground out.

"It was interesting; I think that's the first time I've done that as a manager," Weiss said. "At that point, you're rolling the dice. We didn't turn a double play, but it worked because Oberg struck the guy out and got a groundball."

Rockies sub in a fifth infielder

The move cost the Rockies Gonzalez's bat, and had the game extended pitcher Yohan Flande would have had to hit. Weiss said the need for a double play dictated that he go with Descalso, rather than bring Gonzalez into the infield to play first and push Wilin Rosario between first and second. The key, Weiss said, was Oberg has the type of sinker that could have forced a groundball, so he wanted all infielders.

• The Rockies on Saturday activated closer John Axford, who had taken family emergency medical leave time, and sent right-hander Justin Miller to Triple-A Albuquerque. With regular long reliever Christian Bergman on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder fatigue, Weiss said he needed to keep Flande because he can pitch multiple innings.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.