DENVER -- Jordan Pacheco has been asked to do many things for the Rockies this season -- to back up the catcher, play third and now, with injuries riddling the roster, to be the club's primary first baseman.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy asked Pacheco for another first in Wednesday's finale against the Dodgers -- to hit cleanup for the first time in the Majors.
"If you think about it, you really only bat fourth one time, and that's in the beginning," Pacheco said, downplaying the need to adjust his approach for a new slot in the lineup. "After that, everybody falls into place. I guess in the first inning you take it a little differently, but after that it's all the same. You're still in the lineup. That's how I look at it."
Pacheco has been exceptional at the plate during his rookie campaign, hitting .308 entering his 100th game of the season. His two home runs are not typical of a corner infielder or a cleanup hitter, but Tracy couldn't be happier with what Pacheco has given the club on a daily basis.
"I'm not looking for him to hit the ball over the fence or anything like that," Tracy said. "But I know ... we'll get a very professional at-bat, and the door's also open to do other things if situations present themselves because he's very, very good at it. He's off the charts [with bat control], so that's why we went that direction."
More than filling the typical cleanup profile, Tracy wants someone who can effectively protect Carlos Gonzalez. By keeping Gonzalez in his customary third spot in the lineup, he ensures a first-inning at-bat from the club's best hitter.
"I know I can hit the ball out of the park, but I'm just trying to contribute to this team," Pacheco said. "Whether it's on defense or at the plate. It's just getting the guy over, getting the guy in -- that's what I see myself doing."