Okay? How. My headcannon says that if you rotate, you rotate around 1 axis of symmetry. That being - around the center clockwise or counterclockwise. ERGO, the nominal direction NESW. Unless Top and Bottom are added into this somehow (like tacked into the end), I don't see how this is any faster than simply removing the block and placing it again.
First of all, getting blocks to orient correctly isn't simply a matter of replacing blocks. Sometimes, you have to get in weird positions, break certain blocks, and sometimes, it is completely impossible or dangerous trying to place blocks in the right direction. If you don't know already, blocks who can rotate have an ID for each rotation. The "R" function will simply cycle through the block ID's. So I guess you could say that the up/down rotations are added into this.