The first day of 2009
Here are some thoughts from the Rockies’ first workout at Hi Corbett Field.
– Left-handed pitcher Jeff Francis was not nearly as upbeat as he was a couple of days ago when discussing the health of his shoulder, which bothered him all last season. Francis must either prove to be healthy or undergo surgery. Last week went so well that Francis was smiling and marveling. Sunday afternoon, the shoulder didn’t feel as good.
So does this mean surgery is imminent? Not necessarily.
Rockies head trainer Keith Dugger warned Francis that he wasn’t out of the woods because his shoulder felt good for a few days. He still hopes to throw off the mound soon. Francis had limited involvement in the first workout. For example, he was limited to practicing bunts in a drill in which other pitchers faked a bunt and swung in an attempt to hit a ground ball through the infield.
– Rockies club president Keli McGregor said Sunday that there have been no recent talks with Tucson, Ariz., officials about the club’s future plans. With just two teams in Tucson — the Rox and the D-Backs, now that the White Sox have left for the Phoenix area — all kinds of possibilities exist, although the Rockies playing alone at Hi Corbett and the D-Backs alone at Tucson Electric Park is a situation that won’t last long. Even if the D-Backs are joined by a Japanese team, which was proposed recently, there is still the issue of the Rockies playing at an aging park.
There has been talk of a complex in Marana, Ariz., which is northwest of Tucson, and some news stories have mentioned the possibility of a complex in Casa Grande, which is between Tucson and Phoenix on I-10. And the Phoenix area has been raised as an option.
McGregor said he’ll have discussions with offcials from Tucson and surrounding areas over the next few weeks.
– Part of of the workout for the catchers featured “The Ultimate Pitcher’s Tool,” which looked much like a crash test dummy. I shot it with the camera on my phone. It is designed to place in a batter’s box to teach pitchers to throw inside without fear. But in the catcher workout, it was placed on the basepath to simulate a runner. Catchers would field balls in front of the plate and throw to first base. Sometimes, the catchers had to adjust the throwing angle so they didn’t hit the dummy.
At least there was no danger of the runner beating the throw.