Rockies call up Barnes, option Stubbs
DENVER -- The Rockies optioned struggling outfielder Drew Stubbs to Triple-A Albuquerque on Wednesday and recalled outfielder Brandon Barnes, one of the Majors' most effective pinch-hitters last season with the Rockies.
Because Stubbs entered the 2015 season with more than five years of Major League service time, he had to approve the demotion to Triple-A -- a level where he hasn't played since 2009.
"It's a situation where we felt like Drew just needed to get away from the heat of the Major League stage," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He can go down and work on some things, and he was in full agreement. He was very professional about it. He understands, and he wants to go down there and get right."
Stubbs hit .118 with 31 strikeouts in 57 plate appearances this season. He started the season 0-for-23 before hitting a home run on May 1 at San Diego. He had one hit in his last 15 at-bats. Weiss hopes the time away will help Stubbs return to "what he was doing for us a year ago," when he played in 132 games, batted .289 and led the Rockies with 92 starts in center field.
"He wants to perform at this level, Weiss said. "He's a Major League player. He's been a Major League player for a long time. He's a very gifted player, but he understood."
Barnes played in 132 games for Colorado last season and served as a vital contributor off the bench. In 67 pinch-hit plate appearances, Barnes hit .279 and led the Majors in pinch-hits (17) and extra-base pinch-hits (nine). He also played three outfield spots.
"I always feel good in the outfield -- that's something I feel like I can just go out and do," Barnes said Wednesday. "It's something that comes natural. I love to play the outfield. I love to go run balls down and dive and get dirty. That's the way I play, and it's fun."
After adding a distinct leg kick to his swing in the offseason -- one of the primary reasons he began the year in the Minors -- Barnes began to see immediate results. He had 12 hits in his first 10 games with the Isotopes, but comparable figures haven't occurred as of late.
But even as Barnes exits Albuquerque with just a .205 batting average, he feels he developed a consistent hitting approach with manager Glenallen Hill and hitting coach Dave Hajek.
"We incorporated a toe-tap, just something to be more consistent," Barnes said. "It's been good, and it feels really good right now."