CINCINNATI -- Who has been the hottest hitter in baseball over the past 28 games?
Here's a hint: It isn't Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, despite the 28-game hit steak he carried into Friday night's contest with the Reds. But you don't have to look far beyond Arenado to find him.
According to research from Bill Chuck of the Gammons Daily, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki played in 26 of the 28 games and posted a .407 batting average, .518 on-base percentage and .779 slugging percentage, as well as 16 extra-base hits, eight home runs and 20 walks. All of those were the highest figures in the Majors over that time period.
Arenado's .360 average over his streak was tied for second with the Tigers' Victor Martinez, who also played in 26 of the 28 games.
One interesting fact about Arenado's hitting was that he was doing it with no rest. Arenado is the only one of the top five to appear in all the games. He had also appeared in every inning of every Rockies game this season.
Cuddyer takes first BP since hamstring injury
CINCINNATI -- Rockies outfielder-first baseman Michael Cuddyer on Friday took a big step toward a return from a left hamstring strain by running and taking batting practice -- launching several balls deep into the seats in the left-field power alley at Great American Ballpark.
"I did the whole gamut today," Cuddyer said.
Cuddyer, who has been out a little more than three weeks, ran at about 70 percent, mixing in running on the outfield grass and the warning track. The next step, Cuddyer hoped, would be running the bases on Saturday or Sunday. Another test will be the ability to burst from the batter's box after hitting.
Because it was Cuddyer's first time running and taking batting practice since the injury, and because he has never dealt with the injury, there was still not a timetable on his return, although passing the aforementioned tests could put him in position for an injury rehab assignment.
Cuddyer was hitting .317 with three home runs, 10 RBIs and four doubles in 16 games before sustaining the injury running to first base on a ground ball on April 17 against the Padres at Petco Park.
Morneau back in lineup in opener vs. Reds
CINCINNATI -- The neck stiffness that forced the Rockies to scratch first baseman Justin Morneau from the starting lineup for Thursday night's 5-0 loss to the Rangers had subsided by Friday, and he started that night's series opener against the Reds.
Morneau entered Friday batting .331 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs while playing in 34 of the Rockies' 37 contests.
"I didn't think it would be too long -- I thought it might be a couple of days, but Justin is ready to roll," manager Walt Weiss said.
Rox see potential in Masset's early success
CINCINNATI -- Manager Walt Weiss said right-hander Nick Masset, who joined the club this week and is pitching in the Majors for the first time since sustaining a shoulder injury before the 2012 season while with the Reds, had shown enough in his first two outings that he was headed toward game-changing innings.
Entering Friday, Masset had not given up a run in two outings covering two innings. He had given up three hits and a walk against two strikeouts. Before being injured, Masset was a key right-handed setup man for contending Reds clubs.
"I don't feel like I've got to be real careful with him," Weiss said. "He's been out there a couple of times, and he's got real good stuff. I'm not saying I'm going to pitch him in the eighth inning right now, but he's doing well."