Chacin makes most of big chance; Cook pitches
The magic of Rockies right-handed prospect Jhoulys Chacin’s impressive first Major League cmap has been treating every opponent like the Class-A hitters he dominated while winning 18 games last year. He even tried that Monday in his first start in a Cactus League game, against the D-backs. For the most part, he succeeded in treating it like any other game.
“I was excited because it was my first time starting a game, but I felt good and I was doing what I wanted to do,” Chacin said.
Chacin, 21. went three innings and gave up three runs on four hits. he was perfect in the first two innings, but found trouble after Chris Roberson’s leadoff hit in the third. Roberson’s chopper sailed high and Chacin, who probably should have let second baseman Omar Quintanilla make the play, lost the ball in the sun and couldn’t catch it in time to throw to first.
The only solid hit of the innning was Evan Frey’s two-run triple on the only pitch he said he wanted back.
But the inning ended with a nice memory, when he fanned Justin Upton swinging.
“When I’m pitching, I don’t see who’s hitting, so I try to make my pitch — the only thing i can control is making my pitch,” said Chacin, who forced some weak contact with his sinker and had an effective changeup. “But Upton, I wanted to face him. He’s a good hitter and he’s young, too.”
Veteran first baseman Todd Helton gave a whole-hearted endorsement of Chacin.
“I love him,” Helton said. “He kept the ball down, threw strikes. He was working ahead. He doesn’t get rattled when he gets guys on base. He’s easy to play behind.”
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said the Rockies have not discussed whether Chacin will make another Major League start, but there was plenty to like about Monday.
“He wouldn’t have had the year he had last year if he didn’t have a feel for waht he did,” Hurdle said. “He’s being challenged at this level and we wanted to get him out there in a starting opportunity. You saw a kid that’s got good mound presence, can sink the ball.
“He got a little amped up when he had some runners on base, but he did fine today.”
The Rockies haven’t said where Chacin will begin the season, although other top prospects with his resume have started at Double-A Tulsa with the chance to move to Triple-A Colorado Springs or the Majors at some point during the season.
Rockies right-hander Aaron Cook, the No. 1 starter, pitched to a mix of Rockies Minor Leagues and went five innings, with four hits and four runs, three earned, two strikeouts and one walk. He threw 78 pitches.