May 18, 2014 Updated: May 19, 2014 at 8:19 am
A first-inning fielder's choice ground ball off the bat of Kyle Parker had no bearing on the Sky Sox's 4-3 loss to New Orleans on Sunday.
It did, however, signal to Michael Cuddyer that he was ready to return to the Rockies.
Cuddyer, the 2013 NL batting champion who played three innings Sunday in his lone rehab appearance on the way back from a hamstring injury, was on first base on the play after drawing a four-pitch walk. Parker's ball wasn't hit sharply and Zephyrs third baseman Josh Rodriguez had to range to his left to field it, so a double play was unlikely.
Cuddyer made sure of it with a hard slide into second base that kept Jordany Valdespin from even making a throw.
"That was my first slide, actually," said Cuddyer, who had 23 at-bats in three days at extended spring training prior to joining Colorado Springs for Sunday's game. "So that was kind of the last check off. It was good, felt good, no problems and ready to go."
Cuddyer concluded his day with a sharply hit fly ball to left field. He'll take Monday off along with the Rockies and be activated prior to Tuesday's game.
The game took a dive for the Sky Sox once Cuddyer and starting pitcher Yohan Flande were no longer involved.
Flande took a shutout into the seventh before giving up a run and handing off the ball to Rob Scahill with one runner on base.
Scahill have up three hits, including a pair of doubles, and a 3-0 Sky Sox lead had turned into a 4-3 deficit.
Flande (0-6) made his sixth straight start in which he went at least five innings and gave up three or fewer earned runs, but had to settle for a no-decision.
The Sky Sox gave him a three-run cushion after RBIs from Dustin Garneau and Paul Janish in the second inning and a bizarre bases-loaded foul-ball pop-out from Tim Wheeler in the fourth. New Orleans third baseman Josh Rodriguez made the catch while falling over the wall in shallow left field. Even though Rodriguez seemingly threw out Garneau at the plate from the grass on the opposite side of the wall, the runners were each awarded a base because the ball had left the field of play.
Though the lead didn't hold up, the day in the bigger picture was a success because the Sky Sox were able to send a healthy Cuddyer back to the parent club.
"I feel good, 100 percent, no inhibitions," Cuddyer said.