The Colorado Rockies optioned backup catcher/first baseman Wilin Rosario to Triple-A Albuquerque on Wednesday to make room for reliever John Axford, who was activated from the restricted list.
Rosario will head to the minors essentially to work on his defense; he'll almost exclusively play first base during his time with the Isotopes. The 26-year-old power hitter, who owns a career big league slugging percentage of .486, has five hits -- including three doubles and a home run -- in 14 plate appearances for the Rockies in the early going but has struggled at times while filling in for Justin Morneau at first.
"This wasn't to do with performance," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said on Wednesday. "We needed bullpen help and this was the play we had."
The Rockies' bullpen will benefit from the return of Axford, who has made only one appearance this season. Axford was out for a couple of weeks tending to his 2-year-old son, Jameson, the victim of a snake bite while the Rockies were still stationed in Arizona for spring training. Axford's fresh arm will be in high demand for a unit that has worked 11 innings over the last two games and is quickly losing its effectiveness.
In addition to adding Axford and optioning Rosario, the Rockies placed veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins on the 15-day disabled list with right biceps tendinitis. In a corresponding move, the club recalled right-hander Scott Oberg from Triple-A.
Oberg allowed three home runs in a disastrous inning of work against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday but pitched well in his other two big league outings.
Hawkins was demoted from the Rockies' closer role prior to the last road trip after blowing a pair of saves in the first week of the season. The 42-year-old veteran righty has allowed seven runs on 11 hits in six innings spanning seven appearances thus far in 2015.