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Catcher Wolters taking on heavy workload

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

SAN DIEGO -- By Rockies standards, manager Bud Black is working catcher Tony Wolters hard these days. Sunday marked his ninth start in the past 11 games, and he appeared in all 11 of them. It's a steady pace for a franchise that hasn't had a catcher make more than 112 defensive appearances since Yorvit Torrealba reached that number in 2007.

But Black put Wolters' pace into perspective.

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SAN DIEGO -- By Rockies standards, manager Bud Black is working catcher Tony Wolters hard these days. Sunday marked his ninth start in the past 11 games, and he appeared in all 11 of them. It's a steady pace for a franchise that hasn't had a catcher make more than 112 defensive appearances since Yorvit Torrealba reached that number in 2007.

But Black put Wolters' pace into perspective.

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"I gave Tony an exercise, had him look up Jim Sundberg's numbers," Black said. "Look at Sundberg's numbers, then ask me if Tony Wolters is OK to catch today in San Diego on an overcast 62-degree day."

Sundberg played for the Rangers in a sauna known as Arlington Stadium. He caught 132 games at age 23, 155 at 24 and 140 at 25. This occurred during a career in which Sundberg won six Gold Glove Awards.

In other words, Wolters, who turns 25 on Friday, is OK.

Part of the issue is Ryan Hanigan is dealing with a left ankle injury that occurred Tuesday, the last time Wolters didn't start. Wolters finished that game.

But Wolters has handled the playing time well. In his previous nine games (heading into Sunday), Wolters hit .296 with a .406 on-base percentage. And the catching work hasn't exactly been easy. He handled standout starts from Antonio Senzatela, German Marquez and Tyler Chatwood, as well as poor ones from each.

Video: STL@COL: Wolters plates two with a single to left

Ah, the wonders of youth -- and knowledge about taking care of himself. Colorado doesn't have the heat and humidity that Sundberg dealt with, but the dry mountain climate has its own challenges.

"I feel good," Wolters said. "I'm drinking a lot of water, stretching a lot. The main thing is hydrating. I'm trying not to lift as much. But I'm in a good spot drinking a lot of water."

Sound of body, Wolters must be sound of mind for his main job, which is helping pitchers. Wolters went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout in Saturday's 10-1 victory over the Padres, but more than made up for it by helping Tyler Chatwood throw eight dominant innings.

Chatwood can let his eagerness to compete work against him in the form of rushed work between pitches and rushed mechanics during them. Chatwood was more conscious of this issue Saturday, and Wolters was there to remind him.

"He was calming down, breathing," Wolters said. "Sometimes he'll get the ball, and boom. Breathing gets him a little more time to get on his backside, feel his legs. Sometimes he'll be so quick that he won't feel his legs. He'll just rock right out. It's slowing down, but not being slow."

Black added, "That was good stuff. Tony's learning every day. And he's doing all right."

Worth noting

• In his first injury rehab appearance, and first game action this season, catcher Tom Murphy went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts while playing six innings for Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday.

• Lefty Tyler Anderson was scratched from Sunday's start against the Padres and placed on the 10-day disabled list because the discomfort in his left knee flared up during his side session. Black consulted with pitching coach Steve Foster and bullpen coach Darren Holmes before making the decision.

"When a player is in a bit of discomfort trying to throw his side [session], and he's trying to work on things prior to his next start, that's not usually a good sign of where a pitcher needs to be physically to make his start two days later," Black said.

Anderson reported feeling much better Saturday. He is eligible to return June 11. Under the new 10-day disabled list rules, the placement can be backdated just three days.

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, Tony Wolters