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Matthes goes 4-for-4 in Triple-A debut
Rockies prospect homers, drives in three runs for Sky Sox
06/23/2013 2:30 AM ET
Kent Matthes had an .819 OPS at Tulsa before his callup.
Kent Matthes had an .819 OPS at Tulsa before his callup. (David Welker/Four Seam Images)

Kent Matthes is healthy after battling injuries for much of his Minor League career and appears ready to reclaim his status as one of the Rockies' top prospects.

Matthes went 4-for-4 with a homer, three RBIs and two runs scored in his Triple-A debut Saturday night for Colorado Springs, which dropped a 9-5 decision at Sacramento.

"I'm healthy," he said. "I pulled my groin about three or four days before camp broke last year and they almost didn't let me go to [Double-A] Tulsa, they almost kept me in extended spring training. And that thing lingered for a while."

Matthes, who posted an .819 OPS with nine homers, 32 RBIs and 11 stolen bases for Tulsa before joining the Sky Sox, stroked a single off River Cats starter Andrew Werner (7-9) in the second inning in his first Pacific Coast League at-bat.

"I got a first pitch changeup -- his changeup was really effective all night to all our righties -- for a ball. I swung through the next changeup, fouled off a cut fastball in, then hooked a changeup through the six-hole," Matthes said.

The University of Alabama product sent a fastball over the left-field fence for a two-run shot in the fourth. He served as the Sky Sox's designated hitter after learning of his promotion late Friday night in Texas. He flew out of Dallas at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

"I was fine with [DHing] just because I had a pretty long day," said Matthes, who played a corner outfield spot in all but six games with Tulsa. "I had to pack up my apartment, didn't get to the hotel until 3 o'clock and took the van to the field at 3:30."

The 26-year-old stole second after singling to center in the sixth, then singled again in the eighth to complete his second four-hit game of the season.

"Last year, I didn't run much," Matthes said. "In the Cal League, I was coming off knee surgery and wasn't back to full speed on that, but my legs feel good now. When I get the chance, I'm going to run."

Matthes has gone through swings in productivity from season to season. He had a .705 OPS and 17 homers with Tulsa last year after starting the season as one of Colorado's top 20 prospects. Matthes was named California League MVP in 2011 after posting a 1.020 OPS, 23 homers and 95 RBIs in 93 games with Modesto. He missed most of the previous campaign following knee surgery.

"I was in Modesto in August [2011] and got hit by a pitch. It shattered and broke a bone [in my hand] in half and fractured another," Matthes recalled. "I was in a cast for seven weeks, then had rehab trying to get that strength back and find my swing.

"I played really well in the Cal League, so I was trying to find what I was doing before I got hurt and just couldn't really find it, so I started pressing."

Now that he's healthy again, Matthes is focusing on the mental side of the game.

"We've worked hard on my physical game but also my mental game, too, my approach, and we're starting to see some dividends here from working hard on it going back to Spring Training and Fall League last year," he said. "I'm just trying to keep it going."

A's No. 11 prospect Michael Taylor homered and tied a season high with five RBIs for Sacramento, which snapped a five-game losing streak.

Brandon Simes is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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