Rodgers returns in style for Isotopes

Hit in head by pitch Saturday, top Rockies prospect homers twice

Brendan Rodgers has hit .397 over his last 19 Pacific Coast League games since a slow start to the year. (Albuquerque Isotopes)

By Tyler Maun / | May 14, 2019 2:17 AM

Brendan Rodgers was hit in the head by a pitch Saturday night. Back in the same batter's box about 48 hours later, he appeared to be more than just fine.

Baseball's No. 10 overall prospect homered twice on a four-hit night, continuing a torrid stretch at the plate, as Triple-A Albuquerque fell at Fresno, 8-7.

Video: Isotopes' Rodgers homers in return from HBP

Rodgers came to the plate with two outs and the bases empty in the opening frame Monday night and took the first pitch for a strike before hammering the next offering from Grizzlies right-hander Scott Copeland to center field.

Following a single to right-center in the Isotopes' four-run third, Rodgers flew out to right in the fourth. Two innings later, he struck big again. Down 0-2 in the count against righty Henderson Alvarez III, the 22-year-old crushed his second solo blast of the game deep over the left-field wall.

Video: Isotopes' Rodgers crushes home run

Rodgers capped his night with an eighth-inning single to center for his second four-hit game in his past seven outings.

"It's kind of the same that you've been seeing for the last couple of weeks," Isotopes hitting coach Tim Doherty said after Rodgers' first four-hit Triple-A contest on May 4. "He's really staying on the fastball well and adjusting to the off-speed, especially the slider, being really controlled and controlling his at-bats. Most important for Brendan Rodgers is commanding the strike zone, and that's been the biggest difference probably the last two weeks."

Colorado's top prospect went down in a heap in Saturday's Isotopes win after getting beaned in the back of the helmet. Rodgers had worked the count full against Fresno starter Austin Voth, but couldn't get out of the way of the righty's 3-2 offering. He was attended to by Albuquerque trainer Heath Townsend before sitting up and walking off the field under his own power. The third overall pick in the 2015 Draft was not in the lineup Sunday.

Gameday box score

The Rockies also must be pleased with Rodgers' recent jolt in productivity. Over the first 14 games this season, the Lake Mary, Florida, native batted just .245/.339/.396 with four extra-base hits and four RBIs. In 20 contests since, the 22-year-old has raked at a .423/.477/.808 rate with seven homers, seven doubles, a triple and 16 RBIs.

"He's getting back to what he is comfortable doing and making the proper adjustments to the type of pitching that he's seeing, the same thing we did in Double-A," Doherty said last week. "It's understanding more of the game and what the pitchers are trying to do to him and what he needs to try to do to the pitchers. That's really kind of what's taking place. His approach has become much more disciplined. He's staying in the strike zone a whole lot better. Is there a lot of work that goes on in the cage behind the scenes? Absolutely. But at the same time, it's all the application that takes place during the game."

2019 MiLB include

With an unsettled situation at second base in Denver -- including the Rockies optioning fellow infielder Garrett Hampson to the Isotopes on Monday -- Rodgers could get a Major League look soon if he keeps surging.

"For any player, especially of his caliber, and the expectations from everybody including himself but the organization, outside the organization, people in the media, it's a tough burden to carry day in and day out," Doherty said. "For him to be able to accomplish what he believes he can do, it's fun to watch. When you have a hitter that hits for the period of time that he's been going -- I think there was a point in time where he went eight for his last 10 games with two hits -- today he had a four-hit game, that's enjoyable to watch. His teammates enjoy watching it. He enjoys his teammates having success as well. You sit back, you watch, you know the work that's been put in, but then to see the application take place, there's no better feeling as a coaching staff."

Rodgers sports an overall season slash line of ..351/.419/.641 for Albuquerque.

Tyler Maun is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter @TylerMaun. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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