Results tagged ‘ Aaron Cook ’
A hard and chilly rain hit Tucson right around the time the Rockies’ pitchers and catchers were scheduled to end their drills during Saturday morning’s workout. It forced the team to change some plans for post-workout conditioning, but manager Jim Tracy said the baseball work was done.
Tracy is calling on his pitchers to be versatile offensively. Most of the time they’ll be asked to advance runners, with the bunt being the No. 1 weapon. But if pitchers develp the ability to slug-bunt for a base hit in such a situation or hit-and-run, suddenly Tracy can make surprise calls — or at least give the opponent other factors to consider.
“You look at those great Braves clubs with [Greg] Maddux, and [John] Smoltz, and [Tom] Glavine, and, back in the day, [Steve] Avery,” Tracy said. “One of the things you knew, and this goes back to when I was a coach in Montreal, they started and were able to do a lot of things. When they walked to the plate, yes, you knew a bunt was in order and there were times they would do that.
“But you had to be concious about the fact they could possibly do anything. That alone right there eased the opportunity for you to get the job done.”
Jason Marquis, one of baseball’s best offensive pitchers, took his bat and arm to the Nationals this winter after a strong 2009 for the Rockies. But Aaron Cook is such a versatile hitter that former manager Clint Hurdle used him as a pinch-hitter, and Jeff Francis has been more-than respectable at the plate.
At one point, stories of Ubaldo Jimenez’s ineptitude with the bat were sources of comedy, and Jorge De La Rosa wasn’t good, eithre. Now Jimenez is advanced with the bat. De La Rosa won an important game with the Mets last season with a double. Tracy said Jason Hammel, who had been in the American League with the Rays before being traded to the Rockies at the start of the seaso, also improved as last season progressed.
Here are some early Spring Training thoughts:
– Lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who led the Rockies in wins last season with 16, can become a free agent at season’s end. De La Rosa said his ambition is to have a strong year to earn the right to stay with Colorado.
– Left-hander Jeff Francis not only is healthy after missing last year with shoulder problems, but he’s actually ahead of many of the other pitchers because of the intense offseason work. Francis faced hitters in the Dominican Republic a few weeks ago.
– Righty Greg Reynolds, the team’s top pick in the 2006 Draft, underwent surgery after the season to correct an issue with his labrum. Almost amazingly so, Reynolds is healthy enough to begin the spring without restrictions. Pitching coach Bob Apodaca said Reynolds’ motion — which the club believes was at the root of his troubles — has cleaned up considerably.
– The Rockies will have 32 pitchers in camp. Righty Taylor Buchholz, who underwent Tommy John elbow ligament transfer surgery last season and hopes to return to the Majors in June, is the only pitcher not healthy enough to be a factor.
Apodaca said right-handed reliever Casey Weathers, the top pick in 2007, was not invited to Major League camp so he could have a little more time to make sure his elbow is healthy. Weathers missed last season because of Tommy John surgery.
– Lefty Christian Friedrich, the team’s top choice in 2008, said being invited to this camp gives him the opportunity to closely study Francis’ delivery.
The Rockies’ signing of right-hander Tim Redding to a Minor League conract with an invitation to Major League camp gives the pitching staff a much-needed veteran reinforcement.
The Rockies go into Spring Training with a rotation already penciled — left-handers Jeff Francis and Jorge De La Rosa, and right-handers Aaron Cook, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jason Hammel. But that apple cart could be upset if Francis needs extra time early in the year, after missing last year because of shoulder surgery, or one of the others is hurt or struggles.
Redding, 32, provides an experienced option. If he pitches well and makes the club, he could fill the role the club envisioned for Jose Contreras, who instead signed with the Phillies. After Redding, the most-experienced option is lefty Greg Smith, who missed last season with various illnesses and ailments. Smith threw 190 1/3 innings as a rookie with the Athletics in 2008.
Right-hander Jose Contreras, who joined the Rockies in an Aug. 31 trade to help the starting rotation, has looked good enough in two relief appearances to get manager Jim Tracy thinking.
Tracy used Contreras on Friday and Saturday against the Cardinals. Other than a Ryan Ludwick home run during Friday’s 2-1 Rockies victory, Contreras has been stellar. His fastball is traveling at around 95 mph — faster than when he starts.
Tracy has no intention of using him on Sunday, and he must have him available for possible multiple innings Thursday when Aaron Cook makes his second start since returning from a shoulder injury.
The use of Contreras must make sense. For example, Tracy is using him to start innings rather than having him jump into tight situations. But having an arm like that in the bullpen could be a boon to the Rockies in the postseason, provided they hold off the charging Braves.
Tracy said relief pitching could be a part of Contreras’ future, if he is interested.
“He was throwing the ball as hard, maybe harder, last night as the night before,” Tracy said. “This is a strong man. Can he handle doing something like that [beyond this season]? That’s a conversation for down the road.
“But we’re at a point of the season where you use your resources, whatever makes sense. What we’ve seen the last couple of nights makes sense. If that makes us as good as we can possibly be in the postseason, we’ll entertain it.
“The next conversation is over the long haul, is he comfortable with something like that? Would he entertain an idea like that? Would he dismiss it and say, ‘I want to start. I’m a starting pitcher.’ You have to have a respect factor for a man of his stature. This is not his first or second year in professional baseball.”
In meeting with the media Thursday morning, manager Jim Tracy reported that closer Huston Street had experienced some improvement in his sore right biceps tendon. That means he’s on the uphill swing of his comeback. But the trajectory of that swing is anyone’s guess.
“I’m not going to even begin to get excited until I begin to get off the mound,” said Street, who has been playing catch on flat ground. “Really, the only thing keeping me happy is we keep winning.”
Right-hander Aaron Cook is set to throw a bullpen on Friday. Manager Jim Tracy said Cook, who is hoping to return to the rotation before the regular season ends, could either throw a simulated game against his teammates or pitch in the fall instructional program before returning to action.
Left-hander Jeff Francis, who had shoulder surgery during Spring Training, also threw on Wednesday. Tracy said his goal is to have Francis pitch in the instructional program to have some comeptition under his belt, then he can prepare for 2010.
Tracy also said shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who missed the last two games with back tightness, was going to hit in the cage and could be available to pinch-hit. But third baseman Ian Stewart, who also has missed two games with back issues, was not well enogh to be considered to participate.
Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler will begin his injury rehab assignment on Saturday, but he’ll do it at Double-A Tulsa instead of Triple-A Colorado Springs. The Rockies originally announced Fowler, who is on the disabled list with a bruised right knee, would rehab with Triple-A Colorado Springs, but that club is in Tacoma, Wash., and rain is expected.
Right-hander Aaron Cook is playing catch at 100 feet and still hopes to make his return from a sore right shoulder before the regular season ends. Lefty reliever Alan Embree is getting close to being able to throw a bullpen session, which means he has hope of making an improbable return from the fractured left fibula that he suffered on July 10. Righty reliever Manuel Corpas has begun throwing, but it’s unlikely he’ll return from the surgery to remove bone chips from his throwing elbow and the subsequent surgery for an infection in the forearm not long after the surgery. Lefty Jeff Francis, who underwent shoulder surger in February, continues to throw bullpen sessions with an eye toward pitching in instructional ball in Tucson, Ariz.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy decided not to bring in a starter to take the place of the injured Aaron Cook (right shoulder soreness) for Tuesday’s turn in the rotatoin. With the Rockies off on Monday, left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (12-9, 4.72 ERA) will start Tuesday’s opener against the Mets, followed by right-handers Ubaldo Jimenez and Jason Marquis. The next time the Rockies will need a starter is next Saturday at home against the D-backs.
Tracy said Cook, who received good news from last week’s MRI, will not be ready for next Saturday but could be ready thereafter. With manager Jim Tracy against using a reliever for a start — righty Josh Fogg’s start against the Dodgers on Wednesday did not go well — the starter will likely come from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
The Rockies placed pitcher Aaron Cook on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder on Satuday, a day after he left a start against the Giants after facing one batter in the fourth inning. But Cook’s situation is still shrouded in uncertainty. The Rockies will know more after seeing the results of Cook’s MRI on Monday.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy said Cook could be looking at something similar to the shoulder strain that left-hander Franklin Morales suffered early in the season, which could mean 3 1/2 weeks. That would mean the Rockies could be without their veteran starter until the middle of September, which is not exactly the prescribed way to fight for a playoff berth. As for Wednesday’s start against the Dodgers, Tracy confirmed that right-handers Adam Eaton and Josh Fogg are in-house candidates.
To replace Cook, the Rockies called up right-hander Matt Herges from Colorado Springs. Herges was one of the bullpen leaders during the 2007 run that landed the Rockies in the World Series. He began this season with the Indians.
In more positive medical news, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki returned to the club Saturday after spending much of Friday vomiting because of a bug he had. Tulowitzki is in the starting lineup, but the Rockies will keep a close eye on him.
But in a more ominous development, right-handed reliever Manuel Corpas, currently out after undergoing surgery to remove a bone chip from his throwing elbow, revealed that he underwent another surgery 10 days ago because of an infection in the forearm of that same arm.
To make room on the 40-man Major League roster for Herges, the Rockies moved Corpas to the 60-day DL.
After the arm and fingers swelled, doctors checked for other bone chips. Corpas has a device through which he is being administered antibiotics every 10 hours. Corpas said he hopes he could pitch in the playoffs, but he also said it’s possible the Rockies will shut him down and not allow him to pitch winter ball, as is often his custom.
Righty Juan Rincon, who is on the disabled list with right elbow soreness, had made two strong performances for Colorado Springs on a rehab assignment. Rincon said his rehab term expires Sept. 3, but he is hoping to be restored to the active roster once the limit is raised from 25 to 40 on Sept. 1.
The hitting woes and defensive wonder of Clint Barmes are well-chronicled. Manager Jim Tracy admitted Thursday morning that he considered giving Barmes Thursday off against Phillies lefty standout Cliff Lee. However, the glove kept him on the field. Sinkerball specialist Aaron Cook is pitching for the Rockies, and needs top-notch defense.
However, Tracy dropped Barmes to eighth in the order.
He also gave a day off to All-Star right fielder Brad Hawpe, who has gone 5-for-31 (.161) on the current road trip.
Here are the lineups:
Dexter Fowler, CF
Seth Smith, LF
Todd Helton, 1B
Troy Tulowitzki, SS
Garrett Atkins, 3B
Ryan Spilborghs, RF
Chris Iannetta, C
Clint Barmes, 2B
Aaron Cook, P
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Shane Victorino, CF
Chase Utley, 2B
Ryan Howard, 1B
Raul Ibanez, LF
Jayson Werth, RF
Pedro Feliz, 3B
Paul Bako, C
Cliff Lee, P
The Rockies’ Seth Smith entered Sunday’s start against the Athletics with a five-game hit streak. He is 3-for-8 with two home runs and six RBIs as a DH.
That coincides with Smith going to a bigger bat, from 34-inch, 31-ounce to 35-inch, 32-ounce. it makes a difference.
“This is the biggest I’ve used,” Smith said. “I tried it in batting practice and liked it.
“It makes you stay back. If you get out on your front foot at all, you’re not going to get the barrel on the baseball. Staying back is the ideal hitting position. And with a heavier bat, I can hit the ball a little bit harder.”
His new bats haven’t arrived, however. He is using Todd Helton’s.
“He’s pretty lenient,” Smith said.
Here are Sunday’s lineups:
Dexter Fowler, CF
Clint Barmes, 2B
Todd Helton, 1B
Brad Hawpe, RF
Troy Tulowitzki, SS
Ian Stewart, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Carlos Gonzalez, LF
Seth Smith, DH
Starting pitcher — Aaron Cook
Adam Kennedy, 3B
Jack Cust, RF
Matt Holliday, LF
Jason Giambi, 1B
Kurt Suzuki, DH
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Ryan Sweeney, CF
Landon Powell, C
Mark Ellis, 2B
Starting pitcher — Vin Mazzaro