DENVER -- Slugging catcher Wilin Rosario got another plug for his Rookie of the Year credentials from manager Jim Tracy on Tuesday.
Tracy has been vocal about Rosario's need to improve defensively, with his 20 passed balls leading all Major League catchers and 28 other teams overall, but he was adamant that his offensive prowess demanded consideration.
"It's a delicate balance, I won't shy away from that," Tracy said. "I believe he's the first player in Rockies history to have three hits in four consecutive games. Twenty-six home runs, his average is up around .275. Guys like that, you don't go shake an oak tree and half a dozen of them fall out every time you say to yourself it would be great to have a right-handed power bat, not to mention a right-handed power bat that plays behind the plate for you."
Rosario homered in his first at-bat Tuesday night to reach 27 on the season. He passed Todd Helton (25) and Troy Tulowitzki (24) to take the Rockies' rookie mark, but both Helton and Tulo have Gold Gloves in their trophy case and looked like the full package when they arrived as freshman. On the other hand, five-tooled players Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler took some time to find their stride.
"This kid'll get this," Tracy said of Rosario's defense. "And when he does, you're talking about a right-handed-hitting catcher that in our ballpark over a full season with 500-600 at-bats could hit 40-plus home runs. That's a pretty special piece to have around."
Entering play Tuesday, Rosario ranked first among National League rookies in homers, RBIs and slugging percentage.
"For this kid not to be considered and not to eventually garner votes for the National League Rookie of the Year, that would be a [mistake]," Tracy said.
Rutledge's glovework at shortstop 'Tulo-esque'
DENVER -- Some day, Troy Tulowitzki will be back at shortstop in Coors Field. Until then, local physicists can thank rookie Josh Rutledge for keeping them busy explaining the dynamics of his "Tulo-esque" throws from short to first.
Rutledge covered some 70 feet between second and third Monday night, starting with a play deep in the hole at short with the D-backs' Justin Upton at the plate. Rutledge ran and lunged to his right, leaped toward third, and spun toward second in midair as he threw to first to nab Upton with a good pick from Matt McBride.
"Best game that he's played there," manager Jim Tracy said. "And that's not to say that some of the others that he's played haven't been very good, but definitely the best defensive game he's played at shortstop, no question about it."
In the sixth, Rutledge showed his range going the other way, digging a grounder out from behind second base, completing a full 360-degree spin on his feet and coming out of it firing to first as he fell toward right but instead stuck his landing to nail Jake Elmore with another good grab from McBride.
"[He was] Tulo-esque," Tracy said.
Fowler, CarGo resting for opener vs. Cubs
DENVER -- Two of the few remaining Rockies who were in the Opening Day lineup and are still on the active roster both began Tuesday's series opener with the Cubs on the bench.
Center fielder Dexter Fowler (tendinitis in his right wrist) and left fielder Carlos Gonzalez (tight left hamstring) have been part of a dynamic top of the order for the Rockies, hitting .300 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs and .303 with 22 home runs and 85 RBIs respectively.
"There's a chance Dexter Fowler could be available," manager Jim Tracy said. "Obviously you saw last night he was available to play defense. There is the possibility that he could be available for us to do some things off the bench. What I don't know about is how extensive his opportunity would be to pinch-hit for us left-handed."
Gonzalez's Monday MRI came back revealing no structural damage, but he remains day to day and as the left fielder put it, not good enough to play. Tracy said he does not want to see Gonzalez have to beat out another double-play grounder as he did on Sunday.
"No. 1, you think about your teammates," Tracy said of the difficulty in asking CarGo to play less than at full speed. "And No. 2, these fans here that are so very special to us and continue to be special to us -- good, bad, or otherwise as far as how we're doing. The support they show us, I think that thought goes through your mind too, and not feeling like you want to let them down either, or give them the impression that 'hey, I'm not putting forth my best effort.' When you're making the decision to send him up there, you're also mindful of that."
Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt notched his 30th save Monday night as the Rockies posted their 59th win.
He is the sixth Colorado pitcher to post a 30-save season, following Jose Jimenez (41 in 2002), Shawn Chacon (35 in 2004), Huston Street (35 in 2011), Dave Veres (31 in 1999), and Brian Fuentes (31 in 2005 and 30 in 2008 and 2006).
Betancourt also holds the second-lowest ERA for a Rockies closer with a minimum of 20 save opportunities, with his 2.29 ERA trailing only Manuel Corpas' 2.08 mark in Colorado's 2007 World Series campaign.
This is Betancourt's first full season as a closer, more than doubling his career total of 27 saves in nine big league seasons entering 2012. He has converted 30-of-35 opportunities for Colorado this season.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.