LeMahieu On DL 2nd Time This Year -- And In Career

What kind of a year has it been for the Rockies?

Well, DJ LeMahieu went on the disabled list Monday with a left thumb sprain. It's his second trip to the DL this year -- and the second trip of his career.

LeMahieu had played five seasons, 165 days in the big leagues, and appeared in 854 games without an injury. Then came a hamstring strain in Miami that knocked him out for 10 days on April 28.

And now, after being back on the active roster for six days, in which he appeared in five games, he is back on the DL with a thumb problem that developed in his third at-bat on Sunday afternoon.

With LeMahieu out, Pat Valaika was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque, where he was 3-for-17 in five games after being sent down to make room for Daniel Castro, who doesn't have the pinch-hit abilities Valaika has shown, but is an elite defensive infielder.

Valaika made the Rockies roster to open the season, but struggled at the plate, going 6-for-58 with 16 strikeouts. Teams learned a year ago that Valaika was a first-pitch, fastball hitter, and exploited that in the opening weeks of the season. 

A year ago, Valaika hit .258 overall, but had a .328 average in 58 pinch-hit at-bats, driving in 16 runs and collecting four home runs and eight doubles in the role off the bench. He has played all four infield positions in addition to left field.