Morneau sits out, leading batting title race by one

Morneau sits out, leading batting title race by one

LOS ANGELES -- The Rockies rested first baseman Justin Morneau on Saturday night to protect his one-point lead over the Pirates' Josh Harrison in the National League batting race.

Harrison went 1-for-4 in the Pirates' game with the Reds Saturday afternoon, which left him one point behind Morneau's .319 average. The NL West champion Dodgers and the fourth-place Rockies have already determined where they'll fall in the standings.

Manager Walt Weiss said he doesn't mind protecting Morneau's lead. The Pirates' final regular-season game on Sunday starts before the Rockies' game, so Weiss can monitor Harrison's progress before making a lineup decision.

"He's worked very hard to put himself in this position," Weiss said. "People talk about backing into a batting title and all that stuff. I don't think there is such a thing. It takes six months to win it. I don't know how you back into something that takes six months to win.

"He's had a great, great year, and it's icing on the cake."

Weiss started Kyle Parker, a No. 1 Draft choice who has not played much, in right field and placed Michael Cuddyer at first base in Morneau's stead.

Worth noting

• It'll take a stunning feat during Saturday night's game to surpass what happened during the Rockies' batting practice.

Michael Cuddyer knocked a home run that hit the roofing at the top of the left-field bleachers and bounced out of Dodger Stadium. No records are kept on balls exiting the stadium during BP, but it's a rare feat at best. Players on the field and the few fans in the stands gasped when the ball bounced off the steel rooftop.

That would be 470-480 feet from home plate, according to press box personnel familiar with the park.

• The Rockies claimed left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin off waivers from the Cubs.

In 24 big league games over three seasons, Rusin was 4-9 with a 4.97 ERA. A fourth-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Rusin was 8-13 with a 4.31 ERA in 23 starts for Iowa this year, including a no-hitter in May against New Orleans. He has a 38-41 record and 3.84 ERA in six Minor League seasons.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.