Michael Cuddyer talked often during the offseason and Spring Training about the Rockies' need to increase their depth and their success in doing so.

Cuddyer probably wishes his case wasn't the one that proved his point, but that's the way it is.

On April 17, Cuddyer sustained a left hamstring strain that he thought was minor. On Tuesday, for the opener of an unexpectedly key three-game series at Coors Field against the Giants, Cuddyer finally returns. Colorado (25-20) went 15-10 without Cuddyer, who won last year's National League batting title and was off to a strong start this year (.310, three homers, 10 RBIs in 16 games).

The Rockies club he returns to is second in the NL West and trails the Giants by three games. Colorado also has won all seven home series. After a ridiculously hot April at home, the Rockies had to scratch to win two of three at home against the Padres over the weekend, but win them they did.

"It's not crazy hot, I guess that's relatively speaking to the way the first month has been," Cuddyer said. "That's why you need 25-40 guys on the roster in the organization. You're going to go through periods where guys get hurt, get tired, go through periods when guys need a break, need a rest.

"To be able to have the depth that we have -- that's what we talked about all offseason, being able to have the depth to counteract some of those things -- is huge."

Cuddyer's injury was one of those that Colorado supposedly couldn't afford to have. The Rockies entered the season coming off consecutive last-place finishes, but they felt they had the talent to compete if healthy. Well, Cuddyer's return puts their Opening Day lineup together for the first time since his injury.

The injuries go deeper. Left-hander Brett Anderson is out likely until July with a broken left index finger and right-hander Tyler Chatwood has a forearm issue that will keep him down for most of June. Colorado played well even though catcher Wilin Rosario missed 12 games after a nasty flu bug and didn't return until Sunday.

"What we were doing was something crazy -- we were putting a lot of runs on the board," left fielder Carlos Gonzalez said. "We slowed down a little bit. It's always nice to see Cuddyer coming soon, and now we have Wilin back.