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Taking nothing for granted at wet Coors Field

UPDATE:The Giants pulled catcher Buster Posey from the lineup because of a case of shingles. The revised lineup is below.

Rain and a little lightning hit Coors Field just as the Rockies finished batting practice. The Giants didn’t get to take pregame swings, but all is fine now and there is baseball.

Anyhow, batting practice for the Rockies is a much-needed activity before a confrontation with Giants two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.

The numbers aren’t that bad. in 10 career starts at Coors, Lincecum is 4-3 with a 3.61 ERA. Overall, the Rockies’ Todd Helton hits .364 with a .475 on-base percentage against him, and several other Rockies have had a smattering of success against him.

But that’s far from thinking the Rockies have Lincecum right where they want him. Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said it’s not as if the Rockies have a magical approach.

“If I had the answer to that question, there would be a lot more people who’d have success against him,” Tulowitzki said.

Manager Jim Tracy offered an easier-said-than-executed formula.

“If you start expanding your strike zone against this guy, he will feast on you,” Tracy said. “He has had a reputation, certainly early on in his career, where he got a lot of oouts where hitters got themselves out. He got a lot of outs by throwing balls that we and other hitters in the league would make strikes. You’ve got to get him into the strike zone.

“And when the pitch shows up to put in play and hit it hard, you can’t swing and miss, you can’t foul it off, you’ve got to get the ball in play and hopefully something positive will happen.”

The Rockies are starting their No. 1, Jeremy Guthrie, who has had scant experience against the Giants. Beyond Melky Cabrera, who is hitting .355 in 31 at-bats, no one has more than six at-bats against Guthrie. Abrey Huff is 4-for-6, and pablo Sandoval is 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Here are the lineups:

Giants

Angel Pagan, CF

Melky Cabrera, LF

Pablo Sandoval, 3B

Aubrey Huff, 1B

Hector Sanchez, C

Nate Schierholtz, RF

Brandon Crawford, SS

Emmanuel Burriss, 2B

Tim Lincecum, RHP

Rockies

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, RHP

Good Purple Monday to you

Enjoying a sunny day at Coors. It’s beautiful in the stands, would love to work from there. Anyhow, I’ll get to writing stories for the site, but here are today’s lineups:

Giants

Gregor Blanco, RF

Melky Cabrera, LF

Pablo Sandoval, 3B

Aubrey Huff, 1B

Angel Pagan, CF

Brandon Crawford, SS

Ryan Theriot, 2B

Barry Zito, P

Rockies

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Ramon Hernandez, C

Chris Nelson, 3B

Jhoulys Chacin, P

Rockies trainer was first to see Nicasio’s comeback coming

When a player is injured, the team’s head atheltic trainer knows more about the injury, rehab and chances of a comeback better than anyone, save for a doctor. Rockies head athetic trainer Keith Dugger  was the first to see pitcher Juan Nicasio’s miracle return from a broken neck — which culminates with his start against the Astros on Sunday afternoon — coming.

Dugger watched in amazement during the winter as Nicasio, who suffered the injury (along with a fractured skull) when he was hit in the head with a line drive by the Nationals’ Ian Desmond and tumbled to the mound last Aug. 5, threw pitches in the Dominican Republic, with no effects from neck surgery and no referred pain in his muscles. When general manager Dan O’Dowd called and asked if Nicasio would be ready by June, Dugger was the first to say it could be long before that.

In Spring Training, Nicasio proved Dugger correct.

“I was more worried about Spring Training,” Dugger said. “But after that first comebacker [a line drive that buzzed past him in his first spring appearance], I knew we were home free.

“And I think once he gets through a start in Denver, back on the mound where he got injured, he’ll be completely over it.”

Manager Jim Tracy said Nicasio is “way past what happened.”

Nicasio will be backed by a lineup full of changes, as Dexter Fowler, Todd helton, Ramon Hernandez and Marco Scutaro rest.

Rockies batting order

Tyler Colvin, CF

Jordan Pacheco, 3B

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Jason Giambi, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Wilin Rosario, C

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Juan Nicasio, P

Astros lineup

Jordan Schafer, CF

Jose Altuve, 2B

J.D. Martinez, LF

Carlos Lee, 1B

Brian Bogusevic, RF

Chris Johnson, 3B

Jason Castro, C

Marwin Gonzalez, SS

Bud Norris, P

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.

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