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LeMahieu to DL with oblique strain; Hampson up

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

PHOENIX -- Garrett Hampson doesn't have time to soak in a dream, but he'd rather it be that way.

The Rockies summoned Hampson -- the No. 6 prospect in their system, according to MLB Pipeline, because of his mature offensive approach, speed and versatility -- from Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday. The club placed second baseman DJ LeMahieu on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain and designated Daniel Castro for assignment to make room for Hampson.

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PHOENIX -- Garrett Hampson doesn't have time to soak in a dream, but he'd rather it be that way.

The Rockies summoned Hampson -- the No. 6 prospect in their system, according to MLB Pipeline, because of his mature offensive approach, speed and versatility -- from Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday. The club placed second baseman DJ LeMahieu on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique strain and designated Daniel Castro for assignment to make room for Hampson.

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Hampson batted .305 with a .376 on-base percentage and .452 slugging percentage in 91 games at Double-A Hartford and Albuquerque, while playing second base, shortstop and center field and batting leadoff. The Rockies started him at second base and placed him seventh in the batting order for Saturday night's game against the D-backs.

"You dream of this as a kid … I'm sure I'll have some nerves out there, but I've gotta play the game the way I've always played it," Hampson said. "I've got to be prepared to step in and help this team win."

LeMahieu, 30, one of the Rockies' veteran leaders, went to the DL for the third time this season. After playing Castro, Pat Valaika and Ryan McMahon at second during LeMahieu's earlier absences, the Rockies are looking for offensive impact as they try to keep pace in a tight National League West race. With the team's focus for the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline elsewhere, most likely the bullpen, the club had to look within.

Enter Hampson, 23, selected in the third round out of Long Beach State in 2016.

Hampson was invited to Spring Training this year after batting .326 with a .387 on-base percentage at Class A Advanced Lancaster last year -- his first full Minor League season. Hampson showed flashes of being ready for the big leagues, slashing .278/.381/.389 in Cactus League games.

"I told him, like I told all players, 'Play your game. Be yourself. Do what you do that got you into big league camp or near the big leagues,' and he really did," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "What I liked was the self-assurance that he had in how he played."

Hampson's speed (18 doubles, six triples and 33 steals in the Minors this year) and his thought process in the batter's box will be tested at the highest level.

"He has always had a tremendous approach -- a good balance of patience and aggressiveness," Rockies senior player development director Zach Wilson said. "He finds ways on base through all aspects of his game and stays in the middle of the field. He showed extreme consistency while experiencing different types of pitching over two levels this year."

Frustrated LeMahieu wants to keep DL stint short
LeMahieu missed the next-to-last game before the All-Star break with lower-back tightness, but played in the last game and thought the days off would heal him fully. But he started feeling less than 100 percent before Friday's 11-10 victory over the D-backs, and pain accelerated during the game and decided, "I'm not going to make it through the second half feeling that way."

LeMahieu (.278, eight home runs, 34 RBIs in 72 games) is on the DL for the third time this year and hopes to return as soon as eligible.

Blackmon back to leading off
Although Hampson led off in the Minors, Black decided Saturday to go with center fielder Charlie Blackmon atop the order. Blackmon led the NL in batting average last year from the leadoff spot, but Black put LeMahieu at the top, hoping to give Blackmon more RBI opportunities.

With LeMahieu out, Black said he would most likely "ride the experience of Charlie. Let's let Garrett settle in down in the order a little bit and see what happens in this first number of games he plays."

Black said Hampson could become a top-of-the-order hitter at some point in his career, but he would rather put his more experienced hitters at or near the top to give them a chance for more at-bats.

Two places at the same time
Hampson was at Chase Field, but he also was listed as having hit his second Triple-A homer on Saturday in a game that was in progress around the time he was getting ready for his Major League debut.

Albuquerque was completing a game from June 2 against Fresno that was suspended because of weather. So Hampson showed up in the box score of two games at different levels.

Current Rockies Yency Almonte, Raimel Tapia and Pat Valaika also show up on that box score.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, DJ LeMahieu