April 2012

Rockies’ Moyer: One for the ages

Jamie Moyer is 49, coming off Tommy John elbow surgery in 2010, and he’s pitching for the Rockies against the Astros tonight.

But manager Jim Tracy simply wants a deep outing and a chance to win against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

“I just really beleive and personally I think Jamie wants it preceived this way, is Jamie wants to compete,” Tracy said. “He’s here to do exactly what Jeremy Guthrie did for us last night. That is go out, be very, very competitive and give us an opportunity to win a baseball game. I really personally feel that’s the way Jamie Moyer is approaching what he’s going to set out to do tonight.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s the same Jamie Moyer that I saw prior to the arm injury. It’s the same guy. Since the injury that forced him to miss the entire season last year, there’s been very little if any change in his velocity. He pitches exactly the same. He competes exactly the same. There’s still a burning desire to go out and pitch competitively at the Major League level.

“Obviously, the thing that comes into play is a lot of people suggesting how can he do that at 49 years of age. He’s still doing it, and he did it all spring well. I saw no tradeoff whatsoevery as far as where Jamie Moyer is at competitively in relation to his age. We’re looking forward to this. It really boils down to his command, his capability of getting into the strike zone, getting ahead of hitters and getting hitters to start to swing.”

The Rockies are using the same lineup as in the season-opening 5-3 victory over the Astros on Friday night:

Rockies lineup

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Ramon Hernandez, C

Chris Nelson, 3B

Jamie Moyer, P

Here is the Astros’ batting order:

Jordan Schafer, CF

Brian Bixler, 2B’

J.D. Martinez, LF

Carlos Lee, 1B

Chris Johnson, 3B

Brian Bogusevic, RF

Chris Snyder, C

Marwin Gonzalez, SS

Lucas Harrell, P

 

Nelson’s glove gets him Opening Day start

When the Rockies’ third base job opened, Chris Nelson knew he and Jordan Pacheco would share plaing time. Even more, he knew his glove would be every bit as big as his bat. Nelson didn’t even count in solely starting at third. He continued his preparation to play not only third, but second and shortstop, knowing that his glove would get him starts and keep him on the field.

The glovework is being rewarded already.

Manager Jim Tracy chose to start Nelson at third base in Friday night’s opener against the Astros, with Pacheco — whose hitting earned him a roster spot — coming off the bench.

Here is the Colorado lineup:

Marco Scutaro 2B

Dexter Fowler CF

Carlos Gonzalez LF

Troy Tulowitzki SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Ramon Hernandez, C

Chris Nelson, 3B

Jeremy Guthrie, P

Here is the Astros’ batting order:

CF Jordan Schafer

 

2B jose Altuve

LF J.D. Martinez

1B Carlos Lee

RF Brian Bogusevic

3B Chris Johnson

C Jason Castro

SS Marwin Gonzalez

P Wandy Rodriguez

Tulo feels stiffness during BP but expects to be ready for Opening Day; Blackmon also takes BP

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki wore a tight, white sleeve on his left elbow while taking swings in the batting cage and reported improvement in his sore left elbow.

But Tulowitzki, hit on the elbow by a pitch from former teammate Ubaldo Jimenez on Sunday, said he will play in Wednesday’s Spring Training finale against the Mariners at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. More importantly he expects to be ready for Friday night’s opener against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

“Today felt good,” Tulowitzki said. “Tomorrow I’m pretty sure I’m in there. I’ll give it a go, and hopefully all signs point to being fine.”

The ball came off Tulowitzki’s bat with authority.

“I didn’t feel any pain,” he said. “It’s obviously a little tight, so the amount of extension I’m getting isn’t as much as it normally is. But with another two day, three days of treatment I should have full motion.”

Tulowitzki will protect the elbow with padding.

Another injured Rockies player, outfielder Charlie Blackmon, whose chance to compete for an Opening Day roster spot was scuttled by a right big toe injury, took batting practice Monday as well.

Blackmon has been running, but not at full intensity. Blackmon, who hit .255 in his 27-game debut with the Rockies last season before a broken foot ended his year, had a strong start to the spring. However, he dropped to .233, then was hurt. It opened the door for Tyler Colvin to earn that left-handed bench spot. Colvin carried a .385 average with three home runs and 18 RBIs into Tuesday’s game.

“It’s very frustrating,” Blackmon said. “Everybody is excited to start playing some real games that count, and I’m just going to stay here and finish up my spring.”

Blackmon hoped to play some games at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick later this week. He’ll play at Triple-A Colorado Springs and hope to earn a promotion to the Rockies.

“I think [the swing] will come back in a couple of days and I’ll feel like I did three weeks ago,” he said.

Cuddyer back in lineup

Rockies right fielder Micahel Cuddyer returned to the lineup today, against the Mariners, for the first time since being hit in the hand with a pitch from the Rangers’ Yu Darvish on Friday night.

Cuddyer was originally scheduled to play Sunday against the Indians, but was scratched before the game.

“[Sunday] I picked up the bat and swung a little bit, and only took about five swings and was afraid this thing was going to blow up again,” Cuddyer said. “I wanted to take yesterday to see if I could do it. I hit, and there was no problem.”

Cuddyer said he is excited for Friday night’s opener at Houston, after playing all or parts of the last 11 seasons with the Twins.

“For Opening Day, I was always anxious, nervous, butterflies,” Cuddyer said. “I get butterflies for every game. Now, being with a new team, new fan base, new organization, new league, I almost feel like a rookie again. In Houston, I’ll be facing three pitchers and I’ve only faced one of them before — like, three at-bats.

“Feeling like a rookie again is fun.”

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was out for the second straight day after being hit on the left elbow by the Indians’ Ubaldo Jimenez — who was issued a five-game suspension and undisclosed fine after Major League Baseball determined that the act was intentional. Tulowitzki was to hit in the batting cage today.

Here is the Rockies’ lineup for today’s next-to-last Cactus League game:

Marco Scutaro, SS

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Todd Helton, 1B

Jason Giambi, DH

Ramon Hernandez, C

Jordan Pacheco, 3B

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Rockies pitching for today:

Juan Nicasio, RHP

Matt Belisle, RHP

Rafael Betancourt, RHP

Rex Brothers, LHP

 

 

Rockies’ Tracy lauds MLB for suspension and fine of Jimenez

PEORIA, Ariz. — Rockies manager Jim Tracy welcomed the five-game suspension and undisclosed fine that Indians pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez received for hitting Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in the left elbow on Sunday.

The act was ruled intentional, as the Rockies contended. The Rockies traded Jimenez to the Indians last July, and Jimenez and Rockies players have snipped in the media all spring. But Tracy called Jimenez’s hitting Tulowitzki and challenging him from the mound a “gutless act.”

“I have one comment about it, then I want to leave it alone: The professionalism and the integrity of the game is very, important to me,” Tracy said. “I am a big believer in right is right and wrong is wrong. And that was wrong yesterday. It was very wrong.

“To see Major League  Baseball react to the situation in the manner in which it did, it just fortifies the importance of the professionalism and integrity of the game.”

Rockies roster set

Rockies manager Jim Tracy announced his Opening Day roster on Monday, although there will be some changes in the early days of the season. Left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz won’t be activated until April 15, when he is scheduled to pitch, and lefty Jamie Moyer won’t be activated until he starts Saturday against the Astros.

One spot is up in the air. Left-handed reliever Josh Outman is battling food poisoning. If he won’t be ready for Friday, the Rockies will have to make an adjustment by bringing back right-hander Alex White, who was optioned to the Minors on Monday.

Tracy also said he is comfortable setting a roster with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki active. Tulowitzki suffered a bruised left elbow on Sunday when hit by a pitch from the Indians’ Ubaldo Jimenez.

Here is the roster for Friday’s opener against the Astros:

PITCHERS (11) — Jeremy Guthrie, Juan Nicasio, Jhoulys Chacin, Matt Belisle, Rafael Betancourt, Rex Brothers, Tyler Chatwood, Matt Reynolds, Josh Roenicke, Esmil Rogers, Josh Outman

CATCHERS (2) — Ramon Hernandez, Wilin Rosario

INFIELDERS (7) — Todd Helton, Marco Scutaro, Troy Tulowitzki, Jordan Pacheco, Chris Nelson, Jason Giambi, Jonathan Herrera.

OUTFIELDERS (5) — Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Michael Cuddyer, Tyler Colvin, Eric Young Jr.

Rockies option White

The Rockies optioned right-hander Alex White to Mionr League camp Monday, although he’ll stay with the big club for the rest of camp. White, who came to camp competing for the rotation but was converted to reliever later, went 0-2 with a 6.19 ERA, 14 strikeouts and nine walks in 16 innings.

White walked two and yielded Shelley Duncan’s grand slam in Sunday’s 12-10 loss to the Indians.

CarGo’s stomach better, wishes Ubaldo mess would end

Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez said he didn’t sleep Saturday night and was throwing up Sunday morning.

But he was really sick about what happened during the game against the Indians he missed Sunday.

Former teammate Ubaldo Jimenez smoked shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on the left elbow on the first pitch of a first-inning plate appearance. The two yelled at one another, and the benches cleared to separate.

“It’s not fun, of course, when something like this happens on a baseball field,” Gonzalez said Monday morning, when he was feeling much better. “We’re not trying to do that. We’re trying to play good baseball for the fans, trying to put on a good show. There are a lot of fans in the stands, a lot of kids watching everything we’re doing.

“I feel like I don’t even know what to say. It’s already done. I’m glad my teammate, ‘Tulo’ is good. Ubaldo is not even on our team anymore. Like I’ve said in the past, I wish him the best. All I care about right now is my team. It’s a good team that ‘Tulo’ is healthy and he’ll be ready to play.”

Relations between the Rockies and Jimenez deteriorated after Tulowitzki and Gonzalez received lucrative new contracts after big 2010 seasons and Jimenez didn’t. All three were quoted in a back-and-forth set of articles earlier this spring. Although Jimenez said he didn’t hit Tulowitzki on purpose, the exchange between the two Sunday showed this is clearly personal.

But Gonzalez said the last time he and Jimenez saw one another, it was cordial.

“I’ve seen him before,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve seen him in Scottsdale. I had the opportunity to talk with him two weeks ago. It was all the same, no hard feelings between me and him. But there’s been a lot of issues in the newspapers and stuff. We just need to be done with that.

“I don’t think there were any issues. It was right after I saw him when everything came out. We just need to start playing baseball and forget about that. For us we have more important things to concentrate on that me talking about the past. Whatever happens now, he’s pitching for a different team. He should be concentrating on doing his job there.”

Gonzalez believes the back-and-forth needs to end.

“For us, we should be concentrating on doing our job here,”  Gonzalez said. “It’s not even like he plays in the same division, where we have to pay attention to what he’s doing. He’s in a different league. We have to think about ourselves and our team, how we’re going to make this team successful. We need to let that go.”

Tulo’s left elbow surprisingly normal

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki walked through the clubhouse with his left elbow unwrapped, and it was surprisingly normal in color and closer in size to his right elbow Monday morning.

Tulowitzk was smoked on the elbow by former teammate Ubaldo Jimenez in the first inning of Sunday’s Indians-Rockies game. Tulowitzki said he will not be in the lineup for Monday afternoon’s game against the Mariners and isn’t sure if he’ll play in Cactus League games against the Mariners Tuesday and Wednesday. However, he doesn’t expect to miss the regular-season opener Friday against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

“I’m getting treatment, icing it, and they’re trying to massage out some of the inflammation,” Tulowitzki said. “I’ve been hit by a pitch before. It’s nothing more than that. I’ll be good to go. I’m not going to miss any [regular-season] time.

“They [the Rockies' training staff] did a good job of getting on top of it, and last night taking care of it, staying on top of it. We’ll see how today goes. If I can, I’d like to get back in there, but if I can’t I’m not worried about it, either.”

Given the bad blood between Jimenez, who struggled last season and bristled over contract issues before the July 31 trade to the Indians, and the Rockies, and given that Jimenez has criticized the Rockies and Tulowitzki shot back in defense of his club, the Rockies believe the act was intentional and have called for Jimenez to be suspended by Major League Baseball. Here is video.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reported on Twitter that MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said Joe Torre’s MLB baseball operations office is reviewing the incident.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.