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Culberson puts spring practice to use at third

PHILADELPHIA -- During Spring Training, the Rockies asked infielder Charlie Culberson to dust off skills at third base he had not used since 2009, when he was a Class A player in the Giants' system. There was quite a bit of dust then, but now Culberson is playing a clean third in the absence of the injured Nolan Arenado.

Culberson made his third straight start at third on Monday against the Phillies, after going 3-for-10 as the Rockies dropped two of three in Atlanta.

"I played one game at third last year in Colorado Springs, but this year I had an idea I was going to do everything," Culberson said. "The first game I made a couple of throwing errors. From then on, I made one error the rest of Spring Training at third. I had 40, 50, 60 innings over there.

"I knew my role was to play wherever they needed me to play. I worked with Stu [Cole, the Rockies' third-base coach] a lot and with Vinny [Castilla, a special assistant] and picked Nolan's brain a lot, too."

Culberson entered the Atlanta series with a .174 batting average but had contributed late in some games, most notably with a walk-off, pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning on May 3 against the Mets.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss has praised Culberson for staying ready offensively. Weiss, who used Culberson in the outfield last year in a pinch, also believed Culberson's athletic ability would play anywhere, third included.

"He's athletic enough, talented enough, that his skill set is in place to be a good defender, so I wasn't too concerned," Weiss said.

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