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McKenry rides impressive Triple-A run to Majors

DENVER -- Rockies catcher Michael McKenry underwent left knee surgery last July 30 while with the Pirates, and in a sense recovery was quick because he was back on the field at the start of Spring Training. Still, he had a ways to go.

The Rockies allowed McKenry, 29, to compete for a Major League spot during Spring Training but ultimately deemed that he needed time in Triple-A Colorado Springs. McKenry used it well, hitting .300 with five doubles, two home runs and five RBIs, and was called up Saturday with regular catcher Wilin Rosario out with illness.

"Most of it had to do with the mental approach -- with the physical hamper of my knee, just getting past some of the mental stuff that you need to get past," McKenry said. "I had a big surgery and had to get over some stuff. It's a separator when you get to this level, your mental game.

"I recovered ahead of schedule. Just to be here is a blessing. But one thing I can say was, in Triple-A I never took a day for granted. We're very fortunate and blessed to play this game. You want to be at the pinnacle, in the big leagues, but just the opportunity to play was amazing after a surgery, or any time."

McKenry batted .217 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 41 games last year with the Pirates as backup to Russell Martin. While rehabbing last year he studied his at-bats to try to find some keys so he would be better offensively. He credits Colorado Springs manager Glenallen Hill and hitting coach Dave Hajek with helping him find an offensive rhythm, one he hopes will carry into the Majors.

"Hajek helped me a lot, and in my short stint with Glenallen, he's a mental wizard, almost," McKenry said. "He told me some things I'd never heard before. The way he put some things was impressive. I'm just trying to apply them."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.
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