Rockies call up McBride, DFA Stubbs

Rockies call up McBride, DFA Stubbs

NEW YORK -- While utility man Matt McBride kept producing at Triple-A Albuquerque this year, his path to the big leagues was blocked. But the Rockies removed all obstacles Wednesday, and McBride will receive the first extended Major League opportunity of his career.

As he batted .328 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs at Albuquerque, McBride was always on the outside looking in as the Rockies were crowded in the outfield and at first base. The fact he wasn't on the Major League 40-man roster also played a role, even though his name often came up in internal discussions. Finally, on Wednesday the Rockies designated outfielder Drew Stubbs (.216, 5 HR, 10 RBIs) for assignment and selected McBride's contract.

The last weeks of the season represent a chance for McBride, 30, to see how his skills in the outfield, at first base and at catcher play on the Rockies' roster. Of the players that changed hands between the Indians and Rockies in the 2011 trade that sent pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland, McBride is the last player still in either organization.

McBride spent some time with the Rockies in 2012 and '14, appearing in 52 Major League games (.211 in 109 at-bats, 4 HR, 17 RBIs). While this looks to be his best opportunity, McBride said the key is to not make it bigger than it is.

"You'd be lying if you said that stuff never pops into your head; things will," McBride said. "But you've really got to try to not get too caught up with it. You're aware of the opportunity. It's not like you completely tune it out. But by focusing on each day, your routine, that may help alleviate any pressure you're going to put on yourself when you go out there."

The Rockies do have Ben Paulsen and Kyle Parker playing first base and in the outfield corners, but McBride could be a righty bat off the bench, and he could be worked into the lineup against lefty pitchers.

"We're going to try to get him at-bats, but I've got to spread those at-bats around right now," manager Walt Weiss said. "Matty is going to get some time."

The Rockies often play with one position player fewer than other clubs because of the stress Coors Field puts on pitching, so they're always looking for multi-position players such as McBride.

Stubbs, 30, signed for one year at $5.825 million to avoid arbitration after a solid year in 2014 (.289, .339 OBP). He posted strong power numbers while starting much of the year in center field (15 homers, 43 RBIs). But this year he struggled, with 50 strikeouts in 114 plate appearances. Stubbs accepted a demotion to Albuquerque at one point, and returned better, before running out of time.

"We wanted to get a look at Matt McBride, needing a roster spot," said Weiss, who complimented Stubbs for being professional during a difficult season. "And those kind of things come into play, but at the same time, it's early enough that it gives Drew maybe an opportunity elsewhere before the end of the season."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for 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.