DENVER -- David Dahl, a 22-year-old outfielder who hit .484 with five home runs in 16 games at Triple-A Albuquerque, joined the Rockies on Monday at Baltimore. He was in the lineup against the Orioles in left field, batting sixth. Dahl hit a two-out single in the seventh inning for his first career hit and scored on a base hit by Mark Reynolds during a 3-2 loss.
"He's earned it," manager Walt Weiss said. "He deserves it and he's here because we feel that he can help us win games. He's having a heck of a season and he's put himself in a position to get this callup."
Dahl, rated the organization's No. 2 prospect by MLBPipeline after being ranked fourth before the season, was scratched from Sunday's Albuquerque game at Fresno.
"He's got that combination of power and speed that is still rare in this game," Weiss said. "He defends very well. He's got the potential to do everything well."
Rockies shortstop Trevor Story was teammates with Dahl last season with Double-A New Britain, before the two lived together during the offseason in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"When I played with him in the Minor Leagues," Story said, "you could see that he's a game changer. He can change the game with his defense, his speed, his bat. So to add something like that to lineup is pretty valuable."
Reserve outfielder Brandon Barnes was designated for assignment in a corresponding roster move.
"Those are tough conversations, very difficult conversations," Weiss said.
The Rockies have 10 days to either trade or release the 30-year-old Barnes, who spent the past three seasons with Colorado.
"On the makeup side of things, he's everything you want in a player and a teammate," Weiss said. "He understood that he had been struggling and wasn't playing the way he could. He was very professional considering the conversation that we had. He's a pro through and through."
The Rockies' top Draft pick and the 10th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft out of Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham, Ala., Dahl began the year hitting .278 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs at Double-A Hartford in a performance that turned hot before the Rockies moved him to Albuquerque on July 4.
Dahl went 3-for-5 with a homer in his Triple-A debut, and has hit safely in every game but one.
"He's got sneaky power," Weiss said of his initial impressions during Spring Training. "I didn't know he had that kind of power. I saw some opposite-field home runs, there's a lot of life in the bat."
Last season, Dahl hit .278 with six homers and 24 RBIs in 73 games at New Britain. He was overcoming a slow start when he suffered a lacerated spleen in an on-field collision with a teammate. Dahl, not wanting to lose the rest of the season while the spleen healed, had the organ surgically removed so he could return before season's end.
The callup comes with the Rockies challenging themselves to become a contender. They entered Monday 47-51, six games back in the National League Wild Card race.
The Opening Day left fielder, Gerardo Parra, has been out since suffering a left high-ankle sprain on June 14. Parra accompanied the Rockies to Baltimore and hopes to begin a Minor League rehab assignment this week.
The Rockies have primarily gone with right-handed-hitting Ryan Raburn (.220, two home runs, eight RBIs) and left-handed-hitting Daniel Descalso (.326, two homers, 19 RBIs). Both were brought in as part-time players. Dahl adds power potential from the left side. The Rockies also could use a power bat with the designated hitter in play during the three games against the American League East-leading Orioles.
"With Dahl here, probably [means] less time for Danny in the outfield," Weiss said of the plan moving forward. "We've got a left-handed-hitting outfield, but we've got Raburn who also handles left-handed pitching very well, so I feel like we're in a good place with our outfield situation."
Weiss made it clear that Dahl isn't just here for a taste of the big leagues.
"He's going to play," Weiss said. "He may not play against lefties, but that's not out of the question either. But he's going to play against right-handed pitching."
Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
A former first-round Draft pick (2012) who is about to call hitter-friendly Coors Field home after compiling 18 homers and 17 steals across 92 Minor League games this season, Dahl has the potential to make a major mixed-league impact down the stretch. The 22-year-old would be a must-add in all leagues if not for a crowded Rockies outfield that may include Parra, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez when Parra makes an expected return from the disabled list in early August. Dahl should be added as a temporary asset for those in need of outfield help, with the understanding that his long-term value will mainly depend on the Rockies' maneuvers at the Trade Deadline.