MINNEAPOLIS -- Catcher Tony Wolters returned to the Rockies' lineup Tuesday with extra padding in the temple area of his new catcher's mask and, more importantly, no trepidation. Wolters suffered a concussion when hit by a bat on May 2.
The Rockies optioned catcher Dustin Garneau (.206/1 HR/6 RBI in 22 games) to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Wolters, who was hitting .346 with three RBIs in 17 games before being struck by the bat of the Padres' Hector Sanchez. Wolters returned after three games with Albuquerque on a rehab assignment -- two behind the plate, including a full game.
"It just felt like I was playing baseball again," Wolters said. "I was keeping the game simple -- just catch the ball, put down signs, hit the ball."
In his first game back, Wolters went 1-for-4 with a double, run scored and RBI in a 7-3 win over the Twins on Tuesday night at Target Field. Wolters also caught Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario attempting to steal second to end the fourth inning.
Wolters, 24, is considered an elite receiver behind the plate, and he hit .321 in 29 games after the All-Star break last year and continued thriving at the plate in 2017.
"He brings an energy to the group, and pitchers like throwing to him," Rockies manager Bud Black said.
The Rockies began the year with Wolters, in his second year, and Garneau, a rookie, catching their young starting rotation. Veteran Ryan Hanigan joined the Rockies when Wolters was out, so the club has a balance of experience and youth. In six games, Rockies pitchers have a 2.89 ERA when throwing to Hanigan.
Black said it was tough to send Garneau to Triple-A. The Rockies' 3.29 ERA with him behind the plate represented the 20th-lowest figure in the Majors.
"We told him to go down to Albuquerque, do his thing … there are some big league arms down there that are going to be up here at some point," Black said.
• Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, on the 10-day disabled list since Thursday with a left shoulder strain, took swings and fielded ground balls Tuesday, experiencing no pain. He hopes to take batting practice Wednesday. Story said there isn't a rehab assignment scheduled, but he expects to do one.
"I feel real good today, almost back to normal," Story said.
• Outfielder David Dahl, who has been out since early Spring Training with a stress reaction in the sixth rib, is hitting soft-toss and hopes to resume batting practice Wednesday. He had a setback when he tried batting practice at the end of April, but he reports feeling stronger.
"I knew it was the kind of injury that could take a while and linger a little bit, but I thought I'd be back by now," said Dahl, who hit .315 with seven home runs and 24 RBIs in 63 games as a rookie last season. "It's frustrating, but I'm trusting the process"
• Starter Jon Gray, who suffered a navicular stress fracture in his left foot on April 13, is spending short periods out of his walking boot and has been throwing bullpen sessions while wearing the boot. It's expected he will be out of the boot fully in less than three weeks. The throwing means his arm should be in shape when he is cleared to pitch in games.
• Catcher Tom Murphy, who suffered hairline fractures in his right forearm and right wrist when hit with the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo's bat during Spring Training, threw and swung the bat Tuesday and is "getting closer to partaking in batting practice," according to Black.