April 2011

Ubaldo time tonight; chat time tomorrow

Good evening.

After last night’s loss to the Giants, the Rockies turn to right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. This time last year, it was almost a sure thing. Jimenez was baseball’s hottest pitcher, and the Rockies always seemed to be turning to him after a loss.

This time, though, is different. Jimenez is coming off a thumb injury that has kept him off the mound since Opening Day. And, yes, the Rockies fell to the Giants, 8-1, last night, but losses — even without Jimenez — have been few and far between.

We’ll see what happens, then we can talk about it.

Tomorrow at 10 a.m. MT, please feel free to join me for a chat on MLB.com. I’ll be there answering questions and talking baseball for about a half-hour. Please register here:

http://mlb.mlb.com/fan_forum/chat.jsp

Crazy weather leads to postponement

Turns out Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin’s mother was right about Denver’s unpredictable weather.

After Denver reached a record-high 84 degrees on Saturday, a rain-snow mix hit on Sunday and forced the final game of the season-opening series with the D-backs. No makeup date was immediately announced.

Chacin was supposed to make his first start of the season, against the D-backs’ Joe Saunders. Chacin invited his parents from Venezuela, but said his mother put off the trip until at least May because she doesn’t like bad weather.

The teams took batting practice in cold wind. By the time the postponement was announced it was rain and snow. Within minutes after announcement, it was simply snow.

Chacin, instead, will start Tuesday against the Dodgers. Righty Jason Hammel will start Wednesday in the second game of the two-game set at Coors.

Right-hander Esmil Rogers, who won the fifth starter spot in Spring Training, will start on Thursday at Pittsburgh in the Pirates’ home opener, and the first home game for current Bucs skipper and former Rockies manger Clint Hurdle. Ubaldo Jimenez, who is battling a cut cuticle on his right (pitching) thumb, is scheduled for Friday. Jorge De La Rosa, who left his first start of the season on Saturday with a blistered left middle finger, will start Saturday at Pittsburgh.

According to the Rockies, tickets from Sunday’s game are valid for the makeup, whenever it is scheduled. Exchanges may be made for any game the remainder of the season, value-for-value, as long as the exchange is made before the makeup date. There are no cash refunds.

Ticket exchanges will be accepted at Coors Field Ticket Office and all Rockies Dugout Stores.

Complimentary tickets have a value of zero dollars and may not be exchanged, and discounted tickets may be exchanged only for the amount paid to the Rockies and are subject to any constraints applicable to the original sale.

For more information, call (303) ROCKIES.

De La Rosa leaves with middle finger blister

Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa left Saturday night’s game against the D-backs in the top of the sixth, leading 3-0, with a blister to the middle finger of his pitching hand.

De La Rosa held the D-backs scoreless and struck out five, against three hits and a walk, in 5 1/3 innings at Coors Field. He also drove in a run with a fourth-inning single. De La Rosa threw strikes on 54 of his 87 pitches. No immediate announcement about the nature of the injury was made.

Last year, De La Rosa missed 12 starts with a torn sheath of a tendon on his left middle finger. De La Rosa also has dealt with finger blisters in the past.

It adds to a difficult start of the season for Rockies pitching. Ace Ubaldo Jimenez struggled with neither fastball velocity nor command of any of his pitches in Friday’s 7-6, 11-inning  loss to the D-backs. A cut on his right thumb cuticle, a problem that flared once during Spring Training and cost him a start, was a culprit. It is unclear if he will make his next scheduled start, Thursday against the Pirates at PNC Park.

After throwing a pitch to Justin Upton with one out in the sixth, Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger visited the mound, and manager Jim Tracy removed De La Rosa and replaced him with Matt Belisle with little conversation.

As the Rockies left Spring Training in Scottsdale, Ariz., their backups in case a rotation member had to miss a start were right-handers Greg Reynolds, John Maine and Clayton Mortensen.

Maine won 17 games for the Mets in 2007. He looked ahead of schedule this spring in his recovery from a shoulder surgery last June. Reynolds fought shoulder and elbow issues last year and did not appear in the Majors. Mortensen came in a trade with the Athletics before Spring Training.

Rockies 2011, Day 2

Well, Opening Day didn’t go quite the way the rockies wanted. And Ubaldo Jimenez’s right thumb cuticle was a big part of the problem. We’ll see how the Rockies attack this. They’re already giving Jimenez an extra day, thanks to a scheduled day off for the club and manager Jim Tracy’s policy of giving his pitchers an extra day whenever he can early in the season.

We’ll see if the Rockies skip Jimenez’s next start, Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh, altogether. Manager Jim Tracy manages a team now with the thought that it will be in the race come September and October, and he really hates to do anything in April to risk that plan.
Also, Ian Stewart starts tonight.
Finally, I dispatched this on Twitter yesteday, but it bears repeating:
Twitter is a great place to converse about the game. It’s an absolutely awful place for play-by-play, which many writers and broadcasters want to give you.
The best place for play-by-play is Gameday, our pitch-by-pitch program with awesome graphics, up-to-the-second stats and all the strategic info you need.
Here’s a link to tonight’s game:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_04_02_arimlb_colmlb_1

Stewart not in lineup for opener

Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart was healthy enough to be on the roster for Friday afternoon’s opener against the D-backs, but not healthy enough to start.

Ty Wigginton, signed as a free agent during the offseason, gets the start at third, and Jose Lopez, acquired in a trade with the Mariners, will start at second.

There had been talk of infield utility man Jonathan Herrera, who had an outstanding spring, (.371, four triples) getting the nod, possibly ahead of Lopez, but that was not to be. Herrera will be a versatile hitter off the bench.

Here’s the lineup:

Dexter Fowler, CF

Seth Smith, RF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Ty Wigginton, 3B

Jose Lopez, 2B

Chris Iannetta, C

Ubaldo Jimenez, P

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