Fowler Finds Stroke For Rox

The long ball is back for Fowler.

It was less than a week ago that center fielder Dexter Fowler broke a string of 382 at-bats since his last home run. That drought seems unfathomable considering Fowler has hit four home runs in his past six games.

Indeed, the switch-hitting Fowler has been lining extra-base hits all over the ballpark since his return from Class AAA Colorado Springs on July 15. On Monday, Fowler homered in the first and the ninth innings in the Rockies' 10-7 loss to the Diamondbacks.

Fowler went 3-for-5 for his third straight three-hit game. Since returning to the Rockies after a one-month stay in the minors, Fowler is batting .314 (61-for-194) in 49 games with 16 doubles, 10 triples, four homers, 20 RBI and 42 runs.

"We saw a lot of good things in September a year ago," manager Jim Tracy said of Fowler. "We saw hits. We saw hits in front of outfielders. We saw some infield hits. We're getting a bunch of hits now, and the ball is being driven from both sides of the plate."

Fowler did not begin switch-hitting until soon after the Rockies drafted him in 2004. He signed too late to play that season and began hitting left-handed while working out with rookie-level Casper and in the instructional league that year.

Fowler's struggles hitting left-handed were such that the Rockies approached him before he was sent down this year to discuss whether he wanted to just hit right-handed. Because of the time Fowler had devoted to switch-hitting, he wanted to continue.

When Fowler rejoined the Rockies at the conclusion of the All-Star break, hitting coach Carney Lansford suggested Fowler use a leg kick batting left-handed. Fowler said it was somewhat uncomfortable but brought desired results, so he stuck with it.

A week ago in Arizona, Lansford suggested Fowler also employ the leg kick batting right-handed.

Fowler said he's able to keep his hands and body back better using the leg kick as a timing mechanism.

"It simplifies everything," he said. "You see the ball and hit the ball. I had a lot of moving parts before."

Fowler homered from each side of the plate, leading off the first with a homer against left-hander Wade Miley and going deep in the ninth against right-hander Micah Owings.

Fowler has hit safely in six straight games, going 13-for-29 (.448) with four doubles, two triples, four homers, nine runs and four RBI. Fowler went to the minors hitting .238 and is now batting .275. In addition to hitting .314 since his return from the minors, Fowler has a .404 on-base percentage and a .556 slugging percentage.


Rogers Struggling

--Esmil Rogers, who gave up a first-inning homer to Arizona's Justin Upton on Monday, has allowed 21 first-inning runs in his 11 starts this season. The solo homer was an improvement over Rogers' last start Aug. 31 at Arizona, when he yielded a three-run homer in the first to Miguel Montero. Rogers also surrendered a two-run homer in the first to Albert Pujols at St. Louis on Aug. 14.

Rogers has lost three consecutive games and has gone five starts since his last win, Aug. 9. He walked the leadoff batter in the third, fourth and fifth. In the fourth, Rogers gave up two runs, quickly handing back Colorado's 2-1 lead.

"I believe there were three consecutive walks to start three different innings," manager Jim Tracy said. "That's the kind of pitching that, when you're playing a club like this, it won't work. It won't work, period. Esmil has to be very, very mindful of that."

The 66-75 Rockies are looking toward 2012. Rogers has been given a chance to show he belongs in the rotation next season but hasn't seized that opportunity. He's 6-5 with a 6.26 ERA overall in 14 games, 11 starts, and just 1-2 with a 9.86 ERA in five games, four starts, at Coors Field.

"I have to figure it out right now," Rogers said. "I have to show the Colorado organization that I want to be here, that I can be here. They've given me the opportunity, so I have to do it; I can't say it."


Rockies News

--INF Jonathan Herrera is done for the season. He caught his right hand in a door Sunday night and said he has a broken right index finger and possible ligament damage to his pinkie. Herrera said he will be examined Tuesday. He was injured while playing with his kids.

--RHP Greg Reynolds and LHP J.C. Romero, both recalled Monday from Class AAA Colorado Springs, each gave up a run. This is Reynolds' fifth stint with the Rockies this season and Romero's second.

--Class AAA Colorado Springs RHP Jim Miller, INF Chris Nelson and C/INF Jordan Pacheco and Class AA Tulsa C Wilin Rosario and LHP Drew Pomeranz will join the Rockies on Tuesday. Manager Jim Tracy said Pomeranz, who threw 46 pitches and worked three perfect innings in Tulsa's final game Monday, will not be activated immediately.

Pomeranz, 22, acquired from the Indians in the July 31 deal for RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, made his second start for Tulsa and first since undergoing an emergency appendectomy Aug. 20. He could make his major league debut and start for the Rockies on Sunday against the Reds.

--RHP Jason Hamel is starting Tuesday against the Diamondbacks because the Rockies need a spot starter after pushing RHP Jhoulys Chacin's turn back. But Hammel was demoted to the bullpen Aug. 23 and has made three relief appearances, so it's likely that if the Rockies deem Pomeranz ready to pitch, he'll enter the rotation in place of Hammel.

--Jim Miller, 29, went 8-5 with 24 saves in 65 appearances for Colorado Springs this season. He made eight big-league appearances for Baltimore in 2008, going 0-2 with one save and a 1.17 ERA.

-- Jordan Pacheco, 25, batted .278/.343/.377 with three homers and 50 RBI in 97 games in Class AAA this year. He played third base as well as catcher.

-- Chris Nelson has appeared in 49 games for the Rockies this season, hitting .231/.258/.340 with two homers and 12 RBI.

-- Wilin Rosario, 22, is considered one of the Rockies' top prospects. He hit .249/.284/.457 with 21 homers and 48 RBI in 102 games for Tulsa.

-- Josh Roenicke's scoreless streak of 10 1/3 innings in his first 11 appearances with the Rockies ended. He relieved Rogers and allowed two hits and two runs in two-thirds of an inning. Roenicke had stranded the first six runners he inherited this season with Colorado, but he allowed the two runners he inherited from Rogers to score.

-- Todd Helton was not in the lineup due to back stiffness that developed Sunday. Manager Jim Tracy wasn't sure whether Helton would play Tuesday.

--According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Fowler, who hit his 15th triple Sunday at San Diego, Jose Reyes (16) and Shane Victorino (15) are the first three major-leaguers to hit at least 15 triples in a season since four players did so in 1984 -- the Phillies' Juan Samuel, the Cubs' Ryne Sandberg and the Blue Jays' Dave Collins and Lloyd Moseby. This is the first year three National Leaguers have each hit 15 or more triples since 1944, when Johnny Barrett and Bob Elliott of the Pirates and Phil Cavarretta of the Cubs did it.

BY THE NUMBERS: 100 -- RBI for SS Troy Tulowitzki, who reached that career-high milestone with a three-run homer in the ninth, his 29th homer of the season. Tulowitzki's previous high was 99 RBI in his rookie season, 2007.

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