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Parra goes back to basics to reclaim swing

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- After struggling through a left ankle injury and some bad hitting habits last year, Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra cleared his mind and didn't search too hard for solutions.

There is no shortage of advice for a hitter, and hitting .253 the way he did in 102 games last year will attract much of it. But Parra, who could point to the high-ankle sprain he sustained last June as the source of a lot of the problems, decided not to overthink it. Some simple keys, with hitting coach Duane Espy and assistant hitting coach Jeff Salazar helping, have led to an improved performance.

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DENVER -- After struggling through a left ankle injury and some bad hitting habits last year, Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra cleared his mind and didn't search too hard for solutions.

There is no shortage of advice for a hitter, and hitting .253 the way he did in 102 games last year will attract much of it. But Parra, who could point to the high-ankle sprain he sustained last June as the source of a lot of the problems, decided not to overthink it. Some simple keys, with hitting coach Duane Espy and assistant hitting coach Jeff Salazar helping, have led to an improved performance.

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"The only thing Espy and Salazar say is, 'Try to hit a good pitch and don't try to do too much,'" Parra said.

Parra has a .364 average, eight homers and 40 RBIs in 58 games after going 4-for-5 in Wednesday's 18-4 victory over the Padres at Coors Field. By reaching safely in his first three plate appearances, he extended a streak to 10 plate appearances in which he'd reached base, becoming the sixth player in Rockies history to accomplish the feat and the first since DJ LeMahieu did so from Aug. 14-17 of last season.

From May 22 through Wednesday, Parra has hit .521 (38-for-73). Since July 7, when he returned from a right quadriceps strain that kept him out for 28 games, Parra hit .556 (20-for-36) with 12 runs scored, two home runs, four doubles and 12 RBIs in eight games.

Video: SD@COL: Parra belts a solo homer to left-center

It has been an interesting study in hitting, and in working through a slump. Rather than fill a player's head with technical advice -- much of which is more effective at marketing how-to videos or getting parents to fork over money to private instructors than actually improving hitting -- just stay simple and let the ability shine.

"In the big leagues, you don't need to talk a lot," Parra said. "But get to the point. See the ball and hit a good pitch."

Parra's absence hurt, especially when Carlos Gonzalez, Mark Reynolds and Trevor Story were slumping and Ian Desmond was on the disabled list with a right calf strain. Parra's presence represents a dependable at-bat.

"This guy was really ready to turn this season around from what happened last year, and it's really good to see him playing good, solid baseball," Rockies manager Bud Black said.

Video: COL@NYM: Parra cracks an RBI single to right

Worth noting

• After completing a rehab appearance for Double-A Hartford on Tuesday, Chad Bettis will make his next rehab start on Sunday for Triple-A Albuquerque, Black said. The goal will be four innings and 60 pitches. Bettis has made two appearances for Hartford, giving up one earned run in 4 2/3 innings.

Tyler Chatwood was able to avoid a serious calf strain, Black said. Chatwood threw off a mound for the first time since Saturday's injury and did some "fairly intense" sprint work Wednesday.

• In a procedural move, the Rockies recalled outfielder David Dahl (stress reaction in the sixth rib) from his Minor League rehab assignment, then optioned him to Triple-A Albuquerque. The move means the 20-day rehab window is no longer a factor and Dahl, who did not have Spring Training, can work his way back to the Majors with no time element involved.

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

Colorado Rockies, Gerardo Parra