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Prospect McMahon adjusting to bench role

Rockies infielder had five plate appearances over first four games
MLB.com

DENVER -- Rockies infielder Ryan McMahon hasn't seen the field as much since he's been promoted to the big leagues.

McMahon played almost every day in the Minors this season, collecting 429 at-bats between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque. But since his promotion Aug.11, McMahon has just five plate appearances in four games.

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DENVER -- Rockies infielder Ryan McMahon hasn't seen the field as much since he's been promoted to the big leagues.

McMahon played almost every day in the Minors this season, collecting 429 at-bats between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque. But since his promotion Aug.11, McMahon has just five plate appearances in four games.

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Going from consistently starting to a utility role takes a lot of adjustments, McMahon said, and the most important thing is to stay ready no matter what.

"If there's an opportunity to maybe pinch-hit, I'll go hop in [the batting cage] real quick," said McMahon, the club's No. 3 prospect per MLBPipeline.com. "I've got to take advantage of those opportunities to help the team. It's a playoff push right now."

Video: COL@MIA: McMahon makes a nice diving play at first

Playing in the Majors requires mental preparation, and McMahon said Rockies assistant hitting coach Jeff Salazar has helped him in that regard. The biggest thing McMahon needs to focus on -- which was the same thing Salazar had to do in his rookie season -- is "slowing the game" down.

"He's never done it before, and in the Minor Leagues, it's difficult to train someone to do that," Salazar said. "There's a period where it's 'Oh, the lights, the field, the stadium,' there's MLB Network TV crews going around with all the cameras.

"There's so many little elements that you kind of know of, but you're not experiencing until you're here. Maybe's he's different, he's always been a name … but it's just helping him work through all those thoughts and feelings."

Salazar worked with McMahon last season when he was the hitting coach at Hartford. With the relationship they've built, Salazar is also helping the rookie take some pressure off himself.

"I'm trying to make sure he doesn't feel that he has to get a hit every at-bat," Salazar said. "Because pinch-hitting, if you don't do anything all day and then you go pinch-hit and you strike out, it feels bad. You feel like you've failed the team. … There's a lot of weight on that one at-bat."

But, Salazar said just because McMahon is in a different role doesn't mean he can't hit. Between Hartford and Albuquerque, McMahon hit .354/.401/.587 with 19 home runs and 37 doubles.

"I have every reason to believe he'll mash here when he gets his chance," Salazar said.

Worth noting

• The Rockies optioned lefty reliever Zac Rosscup on Tuesday to make room for the returning Kyle Freeland. Rosscup has been up and down a few times, but has only thrown 3 1/3 innings for the Rockies, giving up four runs.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

Colorado Rockies, Ryan McMahon