Garneau returns with calmer hitting approach

Garneau returns with calmer hitting approach

SAN FRANCISCO -- Lifted by the confidence gained through a successful offensive stint in the Majors earlier this season, catcher Dustin Garneau rejoined the Rockies on Friday.

Garneau, recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque because Nick Hundley went to the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, went 4-for-10 for the Rockies when Hundley was out with a concussion last month. It was an improvement over the .157 he hit during a 22-game stint at the end of last season.

"I kept myself more under control and stuck to my plan, and being my second time around up here made it a lot easier to stay calm," Garneau said.

In the Minors, Garneau began simplifying his hitting plan, since he knew it was possible his opportunity would come as an emergency replacement or as a part-time player. Garneau said he has learned from brief chances to play alongside outfielder Ryan Raburn -- who has built his career with an economical offensive approach.

"He has nine years in the big leagues, so there's a lot of stuff I can ask him about, if I don't understand or don't know," Garneau said.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss said he will balance the playing time between left-handed-hitting Tony Wolters and the right-handed-hitting Garneau.

Rock-and-roll batting practice

Right-handed pitcher Jason Motte (right shoulder strain) threw a two-inning live batting-practice session Friday and reported feeling good, and hitters reported his pitches looked good. And it was a rockin' good time. Members of Metalica were practicing for "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Friday night's game as Motte pitched.

"That was pretty good," Motte said. "I'd hear them, then say, 'OK, drown them out, throw it,' and then after I'd throw, I'd notice, 'Oh, yeah, they're here,'" Motte said.

Motte is no stranger to odd events surrounding practice sessions. Last year during the playoffs, when he was attempting to return from shoulder soreness while with the Cubs, he faced hitters while Wrigley Field conducted a breakfast buffet behind the batting cage.

"The Bears' game was on the Jumbotron -- that really brought the excitement," he said.

The Rockies plan one more session for Motte facing hitters in Denver, then will look to send him on an injury rehab assignment.

De La Rosa, others headed out

Lefty Jorge De La Rosa (left groin strain) will begin his rehab assignment Monday for Triple-A Albuquerque at home against Tacoma. ... Infielder Daniel Descalso (left hand fracture) had a hit, a walk and three strikeouts in seven plate appearances and five innings at second base in extended spring training Friday. He'll play again Saturday and if all goes well will begin Minor League rehab Monday. ... Lefty Tyler Anderson (oblique strain) will pitch Sunday for Class A Advanced Modesto against Stockton. ... Lefty Tyler Matzek (anxiety) did well enough facing hitters Thursday that he'll pitch in an extended spring game Saturday.

Bergman's strikeouts

Righty Christian Bergman, who pitched 2 2/3 one-hit relief innings to earn the win Thursday night, has 18 strikeouts. He has 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings in seven appearances, after rates of 5.1 and 4.9 his previous two seasons in the Majors. Bergman has used his four-seam fastball and cutter on both sides of the plate to right-handed hitters, who had given him trouble in the past, and has been aggressive with two strikes.

"An out's an out, the way I see it -- actually, an early out is better than getting to two strikes and having guys foul pitches out," Bergman said. "I'd rather get them in and out of there as quickly as possible."

One of Bergman's offseason plans was to sharpen his curveball. He's rarely used it so far, but he and Weiss believe it will be a weapon.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. 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.