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Valaika finding his footing with Rockies

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

PHOENIX -- About a half-hour after Saturday night's 7-6 comeback victory over the D-backs, Pat Valaika -- who started the ninth-inning rally with a single off hard-throwing closer Fernando Rodney -- said, "I'm still shaking from it."

Well, he can calm his nerves in the Majors.

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PHOENIX -- About a half-hour after Saturday night's 7-6 comeback victory over the D-backs, Pat Valaika -- who started the ninth-inning rally with a single off hard-throwing closer Fernando Rodney -- said, "I'm still shaking from it."

Well, he can calm his nerves in the Majors.

View Full Game Coverage

Valaika's controlled at-bats and versatility have earned him an extended opportunity. When the Rockies activated Ian Desmond on Sunday for his debut with the club, they designated switch-hitting infielder Cristhian Adames for assignment.

Valaika, 24, has Minor League options remaining, meaning he could have been sent back to Triple-A Albuquerque without having to clear outright waivers. The Rockies have seven days to trade Adames, release him or outright him to the Minors.

Video: WSH@COL: Valaika rips a single to center, scores one

But Valaika went into Sunday's game against the D-backs, 5-for-14 with three doubles and a walk this season. Also, he made his first two professional appearances in left field after the call-up, and plays all infield positions. He was 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter in Sunday's 13-inning, 2-0 loss to the D-backs.

Valaika nearly earned the roster spot this spring. Better later than never.

"He's performed. … he doesn't scare off," manager Bud Black said. "Listen: I'm a Valaika fan. We all are."

Valaika had a special fan for Sunday's game -- his older brother, Chris Valaika, a Major Leaguer for four seasons (2010-11, 2012-14) with the Reds, Marlins and Cubs. Chris will be hitting coach for the Cubs' Short-Season Eugene club in the Northwest League beginning in June, and he arrived in Arizona this week for extended spring training.

"I never went in the clubhouse when he played, because I was a little older, in high school and college already; the kids that get to come in are a little younger," Pat Valaika said. "But he's been a tremendous resource for me. He's done everything that I want to do. It's even simple stuff, like how to act in the clubhouse -- the unwritten rules. I'm very fortunate to have him."

Worth noting

• Lefty relief pitcher Mike Dunn, completing a seven-day disabled list stint with back spasms, threw a bullpen session Saturday. He'll throw a simulated game Monday at the team's Spring Training complex in Scottsdale and is expected to be activated Wednesday in San Diego.

The trimming of eight days off the mandatory DL stint in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has helped Dunn. "The 10-day is huge; 15 pushes you a little bit longer, to where you have to do some rehab outings," Dunn said.

• Adames was 0-for-13 with a walk and a run scored. "We'll see what happens here in the next 4-5 days -- he might still be with us, and we can get him down to Albuquerque, get him some at-bats and let him continue to grow as a player," Black said.

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, Pat Valaika