Rockies promote Tapia to bolster bench

Rockies promote Tapia to bolster bench

DENVER -- The Rockies recalled left-handed hitting outfielder Raimel Tapia -- hitting .400 through 25 games at Triple-A Albuquerque, on Friday, and optioned righty pitcher Jeff Hoffman back to Triple-A a day after his first Major League win.

Tapia was expected to join the team in time for Friday night's game against the Dodgers. It is his second call-up of the season. He went 0-for-7, with a couple line drives and a couple more deep fly balls, in two games while filling in for Gerardo Parra, who was on paternity leave last month.

Tapia can play all three outfield positions, can pinch-hit or pinch-run. The Major League roster is outfielder-heavy, but there wasn't an infielder on the Major League 40-man roster at Albuquerque. They don't need a first baseman, but Stephen Cardullo (who began the year in the Majors) is out with a broken left hand.

"Tapia, the way he's playing, gives us the best player from Triple-A," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "And the guy has hit. With a four-man bench, he'll give you a chance to do some things."

Hoffman, 24, was called up Tuesday as the 26th allotted player in the second game of a doubleheader with the Cubs and gave up a run in 1 1/3 innings. On Thursday, he struck out a career-high eight and gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings of a 10-7 victory over the Dodgers. Hoffman will rejoin Albuquerque's rotation.

Worth noting:

• Righty reliever Carlos Estevez went into Friday with just two Triple-A appearances under his belt since being optioned on May 3. Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster said the plan is for Estevez to nail down delivery fundamentals without game pressure -- something that there isn't time for at the Major League level.

"He did a very good job up here," Foster said of Estevez, who was 3-0 with a 7.94 ERA in 13 games, with much better work in tight games or protecting leads than when eating innings with the team behind. "We want him to work on things he has to do. It's a good opportunity for him."

• After a checkup Thursday, right-hander Jon Gray (left foot navicular stress fracture) said he will be allowed out of his walking boot for an hour a day to do mobility exercises and some throwing (he'll have to get accustomed to weight on the foot during follow-through). Gray hopes to be out of the boot full-time in three weeks, and hopes the throwing he has done and will do will have him ready for game action quickly.

• Cardullo was hit on the left hand by a pitch from El Paso's Andre Rienzo so hard that the ball went to the screen behind home plate, on May 5. Cardullo ran the bases, but exited after the game. Black said Cardullo has undergone surgery. The injury is believed to be more extensive than the one Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond suffered during Spring Training. Desmond missed the first 25 regular-season games due to a fractured left hand.

• The Rockies' rookies have helped the rotation cover for Chad Bettis (testicular cancer) and Gray, but some of the depth at Triple-A Albuquerque is taking a hit.

Lefty Harrison Musgrave, who nearly made the Rockies as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, hasn't pitched since May 1 because of a sore hip. He could be pitching in games by the end of the month, player development director Zach Wilson said. Also, righty Zach Jemiola, a member of the 40-man Major League roster, left a start Thursday after 4 1/3 innings with an oblique injury, Wilson said.

The bullpen depth has improved because lefty Jerry Vasto, impressive as a non-roster reliever this spring, has returned after a bout with "dead arm."

Tony Wolters played his first Minor League rehab game Friday and went 0-for-3 while catching six innings for Albuquerque in Nashville. Wolters has been on the concussion DL since May 3.

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