DENVER -- Rockies catcher Michael McKenry underwent left knee surgery last July 30 while with the Pirates, and in a sense recovery was quick because he was back on the field at the start of Spring Training. Still, he had a ways to go.
The Rockies allowed McKenry, 29, to compete for a Major League spot during Spring Training but ultimately deemed that he needed time in Triple-A Colorado Springs. McKenry used it well, hitting .300 with five doubles, two home runs and five RBIs, and was called up Saturday with regular catcher Wilin Rosario out with illness.
"Most of it had to do with the mental approach -- with the physical hamper of my knee, just getting past some of the mental stuff that you need to get past," McKenry said. "I had a big surgery and had to get over some stuff. It's a separator when you get to this level, your mental game.
"I recovered ahead of schedule. Just to be here is a blessing. But one thing I can say was, in Triple-A I never took a day for granted. We're very fortunate and blessed to play this game. You want to be at the pinnacle, in the big leagues, but just the opportunity to play was amazing after a surgery, or any time."
McKenry batted .217 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 41 games last year with the Pirates as backup to Russell Martin. While rehabbing last year he studied his at-bats to try to find some keys so he would be better offensively. He credits Colorado Springs manager Glenallen Hill and hitting coach Dave Hajek with helping him find an offensive rhythm, one he hopes will carry into the Majors.
"Hajek helped me a lot, and in my short stint with Glenallen, he's a mental wizard, almost," McKenry said. "He told me some things I'd never heard before. The way he put some things was impressive. I'm just trying to apply them."
Rosario placed on DL with viral infection
DENVER -- The Rockies placed catcher Wilin Rosario on the 15-day disabled list with the same viral infection that landed infielder Josh Rutledge there Friday, and now they are hoping to stay ahead of a nasty flu bug that's making rounds.
Manager Walt Weiss said several other Rockies are at lesser stages of illness. It's not as if Weiss has a creative strategy to stop the issue.
"Wash your hands a lot," Weiss said. "That's pretty much what we're doing. There's not a whole lot you can do. We're in a confined area. We spend a lot of time together, flying on the plane. It's not a lot you can do when you get a nasty bug like this it tends to go through the clubhouse.
"We've got a lot of guys feeling under the weather, not necessarily at the level of Wilin and Josh. We've got a few different bugs running around in that clubhouse."
Weiss said multiple players will come down with the same illnesses during a season, but not at the level of this one, which presents with the fever, headaches and body aches that come with the flu.
Are flu shots as a club policy the answer for a club?
"I know I do, but we've never mandated it for the team or anything like that," Weiss said.
The Rockies filled the roster spot by activating Sunday afternoon's starting pitcher, right-hander Jhoulys Chacin. Michael McKenry was called up Saturday to bolster the catching. He was in Sunday's starting lineup.
Logan a consistent presence in bullpen
DENVER -- Left-hander Boone Logan has emerged as a consistent presence in a Rockies bullpen that has several inconsistent members.
Logan (1-0, 2.61 ERA) pitched a scoreless and hitless inning with two strikeouts Saturday night -- not a small feat on a night when the teams combined for 30 hits and the Rockies beat the Mets, 11-10.
Nights like that will occur at Coors. But Logan, 29, in his first year with the Rockies after time with the White Sox, Braves and Yankees, said it's a matter of not succumbing to a defeatist mentality.
"You don't look at it like that because you don't want to go out there without any confidence," Logan said. "It was one of those games. Most of us gave up hits, big hits. But I go into a game the same way, it doesn't matter the situation."
Logan, righty Adam Ottavino and closer LaTroy Hawkins have been the most consistent bullpen members. Veteran righty Matt Belisle and lefty Rex Brothers are battling consistency issues, and the Rockies are carrying rookies Tommy Kahnle and Chris Martin.
The key to helping fellow relievers, Logan said, is based on building their confidence and not hitting them with loads of information.
"Everyone has great preparation here, so I keep it simple," Logan said. "I always like simple things told to me. I don't like things told to me. With Rex, for example, I say, 'It all evens out in the end. If you do everything you need to do to get ready, the old Rexie will come out in the end and you won't even remember struggling.'
"I'd rather leave them alone than give a bunch of information. I let them know I'm here but I never liked it when someone was telling me what I need to do. That's not the kind of help I need. Just find a way until it starts clicking."
Culberson credits preparation for walk-off heroics
DENVER -- Charlie Culberson believed his two-run, game-ending homer in the ninth inning of Saturday night's 11-10 victory over the Mets was in part due to the work he has done while waiting for his playing time.
Culberson made his fourth start, his second at shortstop, Sunday, when manager Walt Weiss gave Troy Tulowitzki a planned day out of the lineup. Many of the days when Culberson didn't start and at-bats were few if any, he spent time working with hitting coach Blake Doyle, as well as studying pitchers.
Culberson said his study of Mets closer Kyle Farnsworth paid off with the home run, and when he doesn't start, he often watches video of late-game relievers he may be facing.
"One thing that's helped me lately is watching a little bit of video of guys, from the view from the back, from center field, seeing what his fastball does, and what they're doing to right-handed batters," said Culberson, who entered the start batting .143. "Before the first game [with the Mets], I went ahead and looked at all the pitchers to get ready so I'll have an idea what guys' tendencies are.
"Also, a few of the older guys have said they may need help. They may ask what a guy does or what he has. If I've done my research, I can help them in their at-bats."
Weiss said he had a tip that Culberson was ready to contribute.
"He's one of those guys that works his butt off every day staying ready for his opportunity, and he's been in a good place with his at-bats lately," Weiss said. "Ironically, Blake Doyle was in my office yesterday talking with me before the game and mentioned, 'Culberson is in a good place.' So Blake maybe had a little foresight for last night. I was thrilled for Charlie."