Infielder Garrett Hampson, who has primarily split time at second base with Ryan McMahon, has been optioned to AAA Albuquerque, according to Rockiesroster.com.
That created the expectation that the Rockies will recall Pat Valaika, who has been a surging hitter since being sent down by the Rockies, to rejoin the big-league team in time for Tuesday's game in Boston. The other name that was mentioned was No. 1 prospect Brendan Rodgers.
Valaika would seem to be the likely move in light of the fact Rodgers was in the starting lineup for Albuquerque's game at Fresno on Monday after being hit in the helmet with a pitch on Saturday and sitting out Sunday's game. Rodgers hit two home runs in his return at Fresno.
Rarely do organization's put a player in the lineup if he is being called up because they don't want to risk an injury in that minor-league game.
With the Rockies opening a two-game series in Boston on Tuesday, it would seem they will want to have a full 25-man roster. Given the flight challenges from Fresno -- which will require a change of flights and a coast-to-coast trip -- the Rockies would have needed the player to fly from Fresno on Monday to be ready to play Tuesday night in Boston.
Fresno would require a connection to get to Boston. There are several red-eye flights, leaving shortly before 1 a.m., and arriving in Boston in the noon vicinity, but an overnight flight would not be conducive for a player to appear in a big-league game. The only flight on Tuesday morning that arrives in Boston prior to game time is a 6 a.m. flight that is scheduled to land at 4:20 p.m.
The Rockies have not confirmed the move with Hampson nor responded to speculation on a replacement on the roster. Their policy has been to announce call-ups and corresponding roster moves once the player physically reports to the big-league team.
Valaika could provide the Rockies a versatile bat off the bench.
Valaika was 3-for-27 with a double and 13 strikeouts in his season-opening stint with the Rockies, making four starts and seven pinch-hit appearances, in which he was 1-for-5 with two strikeouts and two walks.
With Albuquerque, where he has played on a regular basis, Valaika made his 17th start on Sunday, and finished the weekend hitting .333 with eight home runs and 16 RBI. He, however, had four walks compared to 25 strikeouts in 69 at-bats.
Hampson has shared the starts at second base where Ryan McMahon, a left-handed hitter with a .232 average. In 28 games he has three home runs and 14 RBI. While Hampson has seen time at shortstop and center field as well as second base, McMahon has played third base and first base in addition to second base.
McMahon's primary playing time is coming at second, not at first base, where the Rockies have veterans Daniel Murphy and Mark Reynolds in a left-right alignment, nor third base, where Nolan Arenado is entrenched.
Valaika has big-league experience at all four infield positions plus left field. He has appeared with the Rockies in each season since 2016.