The Colorado Rockies optioned infielder Charlie Culberson to the minors on Tuesday, according to a team announcement. The club also traded minor league catcher Audry Perez to the Baltimore Orioles for cash considerations.
Culberson, 25, is coming off of a season in which he hit .195/.253/.290 in 233 plate appearances. He never could get quite right offensively in a bench role, but it's worth noting that Culberson hit a much more respectable .293/.317/.404 in 2013.
A back injury has slowed Culberson this spring. He's accumulated only 13 plate appearances across six games. Culberson has four hits, including a double, and has scored a couple of runs in those contests.
The Rockies' decision to demote their top utility player from last year likely means that Rafael Ynoa, a 27-year-old rookie who hit .343/.380/.463 in 71 appearances for the Rockies late in 2014, will make the club out of spring training. Culberson's ability -- the Rockies' words, not mine -- to play the outfield had him as a favorite over Ynoa and the rest of the candidates for the final bench spot earlier in the spring, but his inactivity coupled with Ynoa's decent spring numbers (16 hits in 52 at-bats) quickly changed things.
Perez, 26, spent his career in the St. Louis Cardinals organization before coming to the Rockies as a spring training non-roster invitee this year. He has reached base just twice in 13 plate appearances this spring and was reassigned to minor league camp on March 22.