Former Tider Has Big MLB Debut

Former Alabama shortstop Josh Rutledge had a pretty tough assignment in his Major League debut Friday night. His first at-bat came against the 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner.

"I'm not going to lie to you," Josh Rutledge told the Denver Post following the game in which the Colorado Rockies defeated Philadelphia. "I was a little nervous for that first at-bat, but after that I settled down and it felt like a normal baseball game."

Rutledge, a native of Cullman, did just fine in his first at-bat, delivering a double in the second inning off the Phillies Cliff Lee to give Colorado a 1-0 lead.

Rutledge, who started at shortstop and batted eighth in the order, finished his first career MLB game with a 2-for-2, two RBI night, as the Rockies defeated the Phillies 6-2 in Denver. After his second inning double, Rutledge added a single in his second at bat of the game in the fourth. He had an RBI sacrifice fly to right field in the sixth to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead. He walked in the seventh inning to reach base in three of his four at-bats on the night.

Rutledge, 23, a third-round pick in 2010 after three years at Alabama, has been one of the most productive middle infielders in the Rockies' chain. Last year, Rutledge led the Class A California League and had the seventh-highest batting average in the Minor Leagues at .348 at Modesto. This season at Tulsa, he has hit .306 with 13 home runs, 27 doubles, three triples and 27 RBIs in 87 games.

In his three seasons at Alabama, Rutledge posted a career .347 batting average, while collecting 279 hits in 804 at-bats, at the Capstone. Rutledge hit .360 as a junior in 2010, while collecting 107 hits, with 16 doubles and 10 home runs in his final season with the Tide. Rutledge's 279 career its rank seventh all-time at Alabama, while his 107 hits in 2010 are tied for the second most in a single season in school history.

According to the Rockies website, the roster spot opened when Todd Helton was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right hip. Plus, starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's injury was a factor. Originally, the Rockies moved veteran second baseman Marco Scutaro to short, and Jonathan Herrera played short before the break, but durability is a concern in his case as well. The plan is for Rutledge to play regularly at shortstop, even though when Tulowitzki returns Rutledge likely will have to move to second base.

BamaMag Top Stories