Saturday Rockpile: Welcome back, Michael Cuddyer

Michael Cuddyer contributed a double and home run to the Rockies' 5-0 win over San Francisco last night. - Jason O. Watson

The Rockies' right fielder has proven to be an integral part of the team's success.

In his first game back from a neck injury last night, Michael Cuddyer had a two-run double and a solo home run, driving in three of the Rockies' five runs in a 5-0 win over the Giants. Cuddyer improved his hitting line this season to .325/.387/.610 in 32 games this season with eight home runs and 26 RBI.

The Rockies were 7-7 in the 14 games Cuddyer missed with a neck injury and saw some less than stellar play from replacements Eric Young Jr. and Charlie Blackmon both in the field and at the plate.

Like many of the Rockies, Cuddyer has seen a significant turnaround from his performance in 2012. He hit just .260 last season, his lowest mark since 2008, and posted his OBP (.317) since 2002 while missing 61 games. Cuddyer was as emblematic of the team's failure in 2012 as he has been of its success in 2013, which has thus far been a career year for him.

Cuddyer's personality on and off the field has made him someone who is easy to root for and in 2013 he has become the player the Rockies paid more $30 million for two offseasons ago. Here's hoping he and the Rockies can continue their hot start this year.

Links:

Versatility of Rockies' roster on the rise with Blackmon, Cuddyer in mix - Denver Post
Troy Renck has more on Cuddyer's return and the increased flexibility of the Rockies' roster that now includes both him and Charlie Blackmon.

Marv Foley enjoying new job, watching Single-A catcher Tom Murphy - Denver Post
Irv Moss catches up with Rockies catching guru Marv Foley, who is in Asheville working with catching prospect Tom Murphy.

Who is Josh Rutledge? - Fangraphs
Paul Swydan at Fangraphs tries to figure out which is the real Josh Rutledge, the one we saw when he was first called up, the one who struggled last September, or something in between.

Not explaining Jason Grilli - Baseball Nation
Rob Neyer takes a look at former Rockies reliever Jason Grilli, who has found success closing games in Pittsburgh this season.

The finally successful Luke Hochevar - Baseball Nation
Grant Brisbee breaks down the success of Colorado native Luke Hochevar, who has a 2.08 ERA in his first season as a reliever this year.

Offensive decline leads list of 10 early-season trends to watch - SI.com
Tom Verducci wrote a column earlier this week that essentially boiled down to, "Hey you kids, get off my lawn!"

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