CarGo hopes time off helps recharge his bat

CarGo hopes time off helps recharge his bat

DENVER -- Maybe a little extra rest can get the reigning National League batting champion on track.

After a day out of the lineup on Tuesday (he made an appearance late in the game as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement), a rainout on Wednesday and an off-day on Thursday, Carlos Gonzalez was back in the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Pirates, as he aims to break through a dismal stretch at the plate.

Gonzalez, third in last year's NL MVP voting, entered Friday's game mired in an 0-for-22 slump, and he is hitting .214 with one home run and 14 RBIs through the team's first 23 games.

After discovering a flaw in his start-up during the team's trip to Chicago earlier this week, Gonzalez spent extra time in the batting cage making adjustments. Rockies manager Jim Tracy said he received "very glowing reports" about how Gonzalez felt when his session was finished.

"A guy of this magnitude offensively, he's one good swing away from basically everyone stepping back and saying, 'Look out,'" Tracy said.

This weekend's opponent may also be a launching point for Gonzalez. He is hitting .344 (22-for-64) with six home runs and 16 RBIs in his career against the Pirates.

Gonzalez is not the only hitter the Rockies are trying to get on track. Despite a 16-7 record and a 4 1/2-game lead in the National League West, Colorado entered Friday 12th in the National League in batting average (.239).

"It's early and we're still finding ourselves," said catcher Chris Iannetta, who is hitting .163. "We have a lot of guys who are playing well and a lot of guys who aren't doing what they want to do, myself included. I think once we all get going, we're going [to be] really impressive and be able to help our pitching and defense."