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Rockies option Lopez to Minors, recall Rutledge

MLB.com

DENVER -- The Rockies optioned right-handed reliever Wilton Lopez to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Wednesday, the morning after seeing him give up eight hits, including three home runs, and six runs in two-thirds of an inning in a 15-3 loss to the White Sox.

The Rockies went into the season believing Lopez, whom they acquired from the Astros before last season, had corrected some of the problems that negated his sinker last year, when he went 3-4 with a 4.06 ERA in a team-high 75 appearances. But the problems have continued this season, to the tune of an 11.37 ERA and 18 hits in 6 1/3 innings.

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DENVER -- The Rockies optioned right-handed reliever Wilton Lopez to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Wednesday, the morning after seeing him give up eight hits, including three home runs, and six runs in two-thirds of an inning in a 15-3 loss to the White Sox.

The Rockies went into the season believing Lopez, whom they acquired from the Astros before last season, had corrected some of the problems that negated his sinker last year, when he went 3-4 with a 4.06 ERA in a team-high 75 appearances. But the problems have continued this season, to the tune of an 11.37 ERA and 18 hits in 6 1/3 innings.

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Manager Walt Weiss tried pitching Lopez in low-leverage situations, hoping he'd find consistency. Without a sinker, batters are not respecting any secondary pitch. Lopez's struggles also have been a magnet for fan disgruntlement.

The Rockies have to ignore financial concerns with the move. Lopez avoided arbitration with a one-year, $2.2 million contract signing during the offseason, and will be paid at the Major League rate while in the Minors.

"Just really get to the point where he believes in his sinker, and he's able to get it to dive to the bottom of the zone," Weiss said. "That's why we pursued him like we did, why he profiled so well for us.

"He's very durable, very versatile and he's very valuable. But it's time for him to go down and get some things ironed out, away from the high stakes that are up here. He's got a track record. I still believe in him, even though he still struggled at times."

The Rockies called up middle infielder Josh Rutledge from Colorado Springs, to go from 13 pitchers to 12 for their upcoming National League West road trip to San Francisco and San Diego. Rutledge hit .389 (7-for-18) in five games in Triple-A.

Rutledge gives the Rockies an extra middle infielder, which could be important. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki had been strong with the bat, but he's also dealing with tightness in his right hamstring.

During Wednesday's 10-4 victory, Rutledge had an RBI single and scored a run as pinch-hitter in the club's six-run eighth inning.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.

 

Colorado Rockies, Wilton Lopez, Josh Rutledge