DENVER -- Maybe a little extra rest can get the reigning National League batting champion on track.
After a day out of the lineup on Tuesday (he made an appearance late in the game as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement), a rainout on Wednesday and an off-day on Thursday, Carlos Gonzalez was back in the lineup for Friday's series opener against the Pirates, as he aims to break through a dismal stretch at the plate.
Gonzalez, third in last year's NL MVP voting, entered Friday's game mired in an 0-for-22 slump, and he is hitting .214 with one home run and 14 RBIs through the team's first 23 games.
After discovering a flaw in his start-up during the team's trip to Chicago earlier this week, Gonzalez spent extra time in the batting cage making adjustments. Rockies manager Jim Tracy said he received "very glowing reports" about how Gonzalez felt when his session was finished.
"A guy of this magnitude offensively, he's one good swing away from basically everyone stepping back and saying, 'Look out,'" Tracy said.
This weekend's opponent may also be a launching point for Gonzalez. He is hitting .344 (22-for-64) with six home runs and 16 RBIs in his career against the Pirates.
Gonzalez is not the only hitter the Rockies are trying to get on track. Despite a 16-7 record and a 4 1/2-game lead in the National League West, Colorado entered Friday 12th in the National League in batting average (.239).
"It's early and we're still finding ourselves," said catcher Chris Iannetta, who is hitting .163. "We have a lot of guys who are playing well and a lot of guys who aren't doing what they want to do, myself included. I think once we all get going, we're going [to be] really impressive and be able to help our pitching and defense."
Rockies bring up utility man Amezaga
DENVER -- The Rockies have purchased the contract of utility man Alfredo Amezaga, the club announced before Friday night's game against the Pirates.
In corresponding moves, the team optioned right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen -- who threw eight scoreless innings of relief in two appearances for the Rockies -- to Triple-A Colorado Springs and designated right-handed pitcher Alan Johnson for assignment.
Amezaga, 33, has played for four different teams in eight Major League seasons, including stints with both the Rockies and the Pirates in 2005. Amezaga is returning to the Majors for the first time since 2009 with the Marlins. He hit .364 (24-for-66) with eight doubles, a homer and 11 RBIs in 17 games for Colorado Springs.
"Obviously, he's a very talented player," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He's brings a lot of dimensions to our club. He has tremendous versatility. He spent six weeks with us [during Spring Training] and indoctrinated himself into our program extremely well." The Rockies had been carrying eight pitchers, one more than usual. They also needed Amezaga because utility man Ty Wigginton is nursing a mild oblique strain.
"I don't think it's anything major," Tracy said of Wigginton's injury. "I really think that at some point in time during the course of this weekend, he would be available to pinch hit for us, although I don't think it would be much more than that."
Amezaga can play all three outfield positions, and has value to the Rockies as the emergency shortstop if something happens to Troy Tulowitzki.
Rogers' next start pushed back to May 7
DENVER -- The Rockies are pushing fifth starter Esmil Roger's next start back to May 7.
After a rainout in Chicago on Wednesday, a day off Thursday and another day off Monday, Rockies manager Jim Tracy said pushing Rogers back is a move to keep the rest of the team's starters in their normal routines.
"Looking at certain guys waiting eight or nine days before they pitch, that doesn't make any sense," Tracy said.
Rogers will still be contributing on the mound. After the Rockies optioned right-hander Clayton Mortensen to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday to make room for utility man Alfredo Amezaga, Tracy said Rogers will work out of the bullpen until his next start.
"Obviously, moving Esmil to the bullpen between now and next Saturday continues to afford opportunity for him to pitch, and also keeps our bullpen right where I want it to be."
Rogers is 3-1 with a 6.33 ERA in four starts this season.
Nick Kosmider is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.