Story not looking in need of day off

Rockies phenom leading Majors in K's as well as homers

Story not looking in need of day off

CHICAGO -- Rockies shortstop Trevor Story swung over a bouncing curveball from the Cubs' Jake Arrieta to end the third inning Saturday with Dustin Garneau stranded at third. Story looked hapless doing so. However, at the start of the at-bat, there is a clue why Story does not look like an overmatched rookie in need of bench time.

Arrieta started him with a 95-mph sinker. Story was right on the pitch but, mainly because Arrieta has been pitching with uncommon mastery these days, the late movement meant the ball grazed the bat and didn't go flying to the outfield. Instead of feeling confused and sorry for himself, Story knew and understood that he had a pitch to hit. It simply didn't work out.

Story hit seven home runs in his first six Major League games and entered Sunday leading the Majors in that category. He also led the Majors in strikeouts with 20, eight in the previous two games. But with the schedule being kind to the Rockies with days off, manager Walt Weiss said Sunday morning that Story didn't look like a guy needing to sit to regain his wits. More important, Story was still taking confident swings and sticking to a plan that had produced a .314 batting average.

"You've got to trust your eyes on that," Weiss said. "I don't know if there's a blanket policy for something like that. You deal with the individual and you make your decision accordingly. Typically with young players, I'm going to look for spots to protect him. I'm going to do that with Trevor.

"I still think he's competing real well and he's still a dangerous bat at the top of our lineup [in the No. 2 position]. So I'm going to continue to run him out there."

The strikeouts in the first two games at Wrigley Field were at least partly due to solid Cubs pitching by Kyle Hendricks and Arrieta, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. But Story isn't feeling that he's striking out because he's not good enough. After Saturday's game, here's what he learned:

• The strike-three curve was understandable. "I hadn't seen his curveball until that one," Story said. 

• He put the misread on the first pitch on his shoulders, saying, "You can't miss your pitches with a guy like that." 

Story finished the game with an opposite-field double off Travis Wood in the ninth, which backed Weiss' contention that Story is hitting with a plan and not flailing. Six of his seven homers have been pulled to left, but the other homer and six of his other seven hits have gone to either the opposite gap (both triples, which were nearly homers) or right field.

Story's two triples

Worth noting

• Right-hander Jon Gray, who has thrown two injury rehab starts at Class A Advanced Modesto in his return from an abdominal strain, will join the team Monday in Cincinnati and could soon be activated to rejoin the rotation.

• Outfielder Ryan Raburn was bruised Saturday after tripping on the Cubs' bullpen mound in left-field foul ground while chasing a windblown foul ball. Weiss didn't use him as a starter but said he was available Sunday.

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