Rockies' Nolan Arenado returns

DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies activated third baseman Nolan Arenado from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday and optioned left-hander Christian Friedrich to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Arenado batted sixth in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a four-game series, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He is now hitting .299.

The second-year player, who spoke to reporters before the game, was happy to be back after missing an extended period.

"I've been fortunate enough to never go on the DL (before), so that was something I took a lot of pride in and I was fortunate in that," Arenado said. "I always focused on playing every day. To be back out here is refreshing."

Arenado broke the middle finger on his left hand sliding into second base in Atlanta on May 23. Arenado won a Gold Glove last year as a rookie.

Arenado also hit safely in 28 straight games from April 9-May 8 to set a franchise record.

"He was having a great first half before he got hurt," manager Walt Weiss said. "He brings a lot to our club on both sides of the ball, so it'll be good to see him running around out there again."

The Rockies were 10-27 without him in the lineup, but he wasn't the only Colorado player to go down since the team started 26-21. Right fielder Michael Cuddyer fractured his shoulder playing third on June 5, left fielder Carlos Gonzalez had a benign tumor removed from his left index finger five days later and several injuries to the pitching staff prompted the major league debut of four starters in the last month.

Getting Arenado back is just a step, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said.

"More than anything he just gives some energy to the team. Something different from the people we've been running out there," Tulowitzki said. "Defensively, he's one of the best in the league, if not the best defensive third baseman. More so than putting pressure on him, though, to come back and try to turn this thing around, bottom line is pitching needs to be better. One guy can't win this thing. Just because you get one guy back it doesn't mean everything is fixed. That's not how it works."

Friedrich was 0-3 with a 9.45 ERA in three starts since being recalled June 21.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.