WASHINGTON -- No amount of rain and mist could dampen the sunshine in the hearts of some vocal Rockies fans, for Raimel Tapia returned to the Majors on Saturday.The Rockies recalled Tapia from Triple-A Albuquerque amid a flurry of roster moves over the last few days. Tapia, 23, has hit
WASHINGTON -- No amount of rain and mist could dampen the sunshine in the hearts of some vocal Rockies fans, for Raimel Tapia returned to the Majors on Saturday.
The Rockies recalled Tapia from Triple-A Albuquerque amid a flurry of roster moves over the last few days. Tapia, 23, has hit .314 in the Majors this season with two home runs, two triples and nine RBIs over 40 games. Tapia was 0-for-12 during his first two big league stints, but was so exciting during his third stint that, at least according to fans on social media, July 18 was a dark day in Denver.
Now all can delight in the return of Taia's plaited hair that's dyed golden blond, his bright smile and his blazing speed. Tapia is tied with the Marlins' Dee Gordon for fourth-fastest sprint speed with a top speed of 29.6 feet per second according to Statcast™.
The calls for him to be in the lineup every day have already begun but for now, at least Tapia is back in Purple Pinstripes. He takes the position-player role of first baseman-outfielder Ian Desmond, whose right calf strain landed him on the 10-day disabled list Friday.
"It's definitely a cool feeling to know that the fans want me there; I love the fans, too," Tapia said, with first-base coach Tony Diaz translating. "That's why I always smile. I just like to be myself. I play hard. I smile at little kids. I know that means a lot to them, and to me, too. Hopefully I can continue to do that for many years to come."
A deep outfield has been the reason Tapia didn't make the team out of Spring Training, but he has patiently sizzled when in Triple-A -- .349 in 42 games -- and waited by the phone. Now it's still an outfield crowd, with Charlie Blackmon a fixture in center (Tapia's best position), and Carlos Gonzalez and Gerardo Parra in the corners. They all bat left-handed.
"It's not easy, especially for him -- a guy who's been an everyday player at every level," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "It takes you out of your groove."
• Closer Greg Holland returned from paternity leave after he and wife Lacey welcomed their second child, daughter Hunter Nicole, on Thursday. She measured 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long. Their son, Nash, turns 3 on Oct. 1.
To make room, the Rockies designated for assignment righty reliever Jordan Lyles (0-2, 6.94 ERA in 46 2/3 innings), and also optioned righty reliever Carlos Estevez to Albuquerque; however, Estevez will serve as the 26th allotted player for Sunday's doubleheader against the Nationals.
The moves leave the Rockies with 39 players on their Major League roster.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.