Third baseman Ian Stewart had been languishing with the Rockies, not doing much when he did play and not playing often enough to find an offensive rhythm and end his slump. So the Rockies optioned Stewart to Class AAA Colorado Springs to make room on the roster for right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez.
He came off the disabled list and gave up four runs in the first inning, three on Pablo Sandoval's home run, and didn't allow another run through five innings, but the Rockies lost 6-3 to the Giants.
Stewart will join Colorado Springs at Tacoma, returning to Class AAA since he began the season there in 2008. In 12 games, including five starts, with the Rockies, Stewart went 2-for-26 (.077) with 11 strikeouts. Both hits were infield singles, one of them a bunt.
It wasn't until the day before the season that the Rockies decided to put Stewart on the Opening Day roster. He had just 25 Cactus League at-bats. He missed the first half of exhibition play after suffering a sprained right knee ligament in the Rockies' first Cactus League game. In the final week of spring training, Stewart dealt with cramping in his left hamstring.
"He's out of sync," manager Jim Tracy said. "The only way that we're going to get that back into sync is if he takes a bunch of at-bats in a row. Unfortunately, with what we have going on here, we're not able to accommodate that."
After Monday's game, Tracy told Stewart he was being sent to the minors. Ty Wigginton and Jose Lopez, both right-handed hitting alternatives to the left-handed hitting Stewart, have been playing third base, although neither has hit well. The Rockies are hoping to get both players untracked -- Wigginton is hitting .214 with four RBI and has three hits in his past 16 at-bats and Lopez is hitting .176 with two homers and seven RBI and has two hits in his past 22 at-bats -- which also worked against Stewart.
"With the amount of spring starts he lost, he hasn't been right," Tracy said. "I wanted to make sure that when I talked to him last night that he understands the fact that it's not a punishment."
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