Results tagged ‘ Brad Hawpe ’

Rockies playing themselves dangerously close to seller status

Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Pirates put the fading Rockies in a precarious position when it comes to their approach to the non-waiver trade deadline. There is increasing speculation that the Rockies could turn into sellers.Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the Rockies have been quietly shopping veteran right-hander Aaron Cook. As The Denver Post reported, Cook is due $9.5 million next yeatr but his salary goes up by $1 million if he’s traded. There also is an $11 million mutual option with a $500,000 buyout for 2012. The Denver Post also mentions second baseman Clint Barmes, right fielder Brad Hawpe and pitchers Jorge De La Rosa and Joe Beimel. The Denver Post also reported that the Rockies have inquired about Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot, although it’s not clear what his role would be since shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has returned from the disabled list

A good stopping point …

– Saturday’s no-hitter by Ubaldo Jimenez against the Braves was the obvious high point, but Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Braves is a better illustration of where the Rockies stand. They didn’t do enough to win. Sometimes when this happens, they win, anyhow. Sunday, they didn’t.

Five hits from an offense that has been sporadic and 11 walks from pitching that has generally performed well were a recipe for disaster. Yet, the Rockies didn’t give the game away until closer Franklin Morales couldn’t throw strikes consistently in the ninth inning.

Sometimes things go wrong and they win. Sunday, many things went wrong and they almost won. Manager Jim Tracy has been noting all weekend that he ability to stay in or pull out games while not necessarily playing well is encouraging, since it means the club is capable of catching fire.

– The power and situational hitting have come and gone. The team hasn’t been consistently effective on the bases. Errors defensively have been a concern. Which area will begin to perform better first?

I believe the defense has become better. And defense is the one area that can turn hot and not cool. The Rockies made all the plays necessary behind Jimenez during the no-hitter, and performed well Sunday. Not making mistakes makes a team solid, and the Rockies are headed in that direction. The difference between solid and spectacular is taking advantage of chances the be spectacular, the way Dexter Fowler made plays behind Jimenez and the way Carlos Gonzalez did Sunday in throwing out Melky Cabrera at the plate from right field.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has made some highlight reel plays, but in other cases he’s almost made them. That should change. I also believe third baseman Ian Stewart, who has had some questionable throws, needs one or two eye-popping plays to settle him and make him more consistently.

– It may be too soon but I don’t think I’m out of line for wondering … How would the lineup perform with Stewart, a power threat, in the No. 3 position, and first Todd Helton in the No. 7 hole?

– I like the way right fielder Brad Hawpe has swung the bat. I also like the way the team is monitoring his playing time. For me, it comes to this unscientific explanation: Hawpe is a big, strong fellow whose body type may be more suited for first base than the outfield. His recent quadriceps injury occurred after a swing, but the place to watch him is in the outfield, especially when he has a lot of activity. Nagging aches are unavoidable, but keep them under control and he’ll produce from April to September. This is an underrated star. 

– Although Morales has had a rough patch, I like he way the bullpen has performed. It it can maintain some consistency, imagine how much stronger it should be when right-handers Huston Street and Taylor Buchholz return.

– The rotation has been solid. Three keys could take it beyond that. 1. Jason Hammel must find some consistency. It’s early, so it’s not time to panic. 2. Greg Smith has shown a capacity to make the pitch he needs to keep situations from becoming messy, but he’ll be better if he can throw well-located strikes early in counts. 3. Aaron Cook hasn’t found his sinker. I was left intrigued by his last outing, when he relied on breaking balls and gave the team a chance to win against the Mets. Will he reach a stage where he’ll dominate with the sinker for a number of outings in a row, or will a good percentage of his outings be ones where he has to be creative?

Hey, folks, these are more Monday morning thoughts, not super observations. Where do you think the Rockies are, and how can they be better?

Beimel en route; here’s the lineup

Left-hander Joe Beimel, who reached a Minor League agreement with the club yesterday to join a competitive bullpen association, is scheduled to arrive in Tucson later this morning.

In the meantime, manager Jim Tracy has posted a lineup that, save for the pitcher, looks like something you’d see on Opening Day.

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Dexter Fowler, CF

Todd Helton, 1B

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Brad Hawpe, RF

Chris Iannetta, C

Ian Stewart, 3B

Clint Barmes, 2B

Jason Hammel, RHP

Two catchers who have been injured recently, Paul Lo Duca (right arm strain) and Paul Phillips (right calf strain) are listed as available on the lineup card. Lo Duca said if he plays defensively, it’ll be at first base.

Righty reliever Rafael Betancourt will make his first appearance of the spring after battling shoulder tightness, and lefty Randy Flores will return after being hit on the throwing forearm by a line drive six days ago.

LoDuca OK after arm injury; lineups

Non-roster catcher Paul Lo Duca suffered an undetermined arm injury and had to leave Friday’s game against the Athletics, but he said he was OK Saturday morning.

“There was just a knot under my arm,” Lo Duca said. “I don’t know what it is.”

Lo Duca said he was sore, but didn’t expect the problem to linger.

Here is the Rockies’ lineup agianst the Angels:

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Ryan Spilborghs, CF

Jason Giambi, 1B

Miguel Olivo, C

Brad Hawpe, RF

Melvin Mora, 3B

Seth Smith, LF

Clint Barmes, SS

Jeff Francis, LHP

Giambi and Hawpe are getting a coveted chance to see left-handed pitching — the Angels’ Scott Kazmir. The Rockies haven’t faced much of it. Spilborghs is getting a chance to play all three outfield positions this spring. Key relievers scheduled to participate are right-handers Matt Belisle and Justin Speier. Belisle has pitched well this spring, but forearm tightness has limited his appearances. Speier spent the last three seasons with the Angels.

Francis will be tested by an all right-handed lineup (that’s including switch-hitting leadoff man Macier Izturis). Here is the Angels lineup that Francis will face:

Macier Izturis, 2B

Jeff Mathis, C

Juan Rivera, RF

Brandon Wood, 3B

Robb Quinlan, LF

Terry Evans, CF

Freddy Sandoval, 1B

Gary Patchett, SS

Scott Kazmir, LHP

Rockies creative with Giambi

Veteran first baseman Jason Giambi will back up Todd Helton but also be called upon to deliver key hits late in games. So the Rockies know they’re going to have to be creative to keep him sharp.

 

That started Thursday. Giambi made the trip to Peoria, Ariz., from Tucson, Ariz., to make four plate appearances (0-for-3, hit by a pitch) against the Mariners in the Rockies’ 9-2 victory. The main reason Giambi made the drive — something rare for big-name players — was to face Mariners starter Ryan Rowland-Smith, a left-hander. The Rockies have not seen many of those this spring.

 

Before Thursday, Giambi had stepped in the box against a lefty just once.

 

Giambi also will play in some Minor League games for at-bats.

 

Almost as important is keeping sharp at first base, since he’ll have to spell Helton. The Rockies believe Giambi can be effective defensively in part-time duty. Last year with the Athletics, Giambi was forced into regular playing time at first because of injuries. A worn Giambi hit .193 before being released.

 

He found a revival with the Rockies while being used mostly as a pinch-hitter during a successful September push to the playoffs. The Rockies will not let him play himself into a wall. Just in case Helton has to miss extended time, the Rockies are preparing utility man Melvin Mora and right fielder Brad Hawpe for occasional duty at first base.

 

“It’s a little bit different,” Giambi said. “But at the same time, you start to get older. Being in the situation we are, it’s a great Rockies ballclub. I’m excited to be a part of it. I expect a lot of great things this year.

 

“I feel great. I’m moving around good. I’ve made some good plays defensively [this spring].”

Notes: Redding gets chance to make Rox’s bullpen

Rockies manager Jim Tracy informed non-roster right-hander Tim Redding on Wednesday that his best opportunity to break camp with the Major League squad is in the bullpen. Tracy said he’ll use Redding accordingly for the rest of Spring Training.

The decision was expected. The Rockies came to camp with five starters. As long as they performed, the only opening would be because of an injury.

Tracy wanted to act now, since he needs to see how Redding bounces back between outings. It isn’t clear whether Tracy will use Redding in short stints or to go through the lineup at least once. That’s part of what Tracy wants to see.

Tracy said he didn’t guarantee Redding a spot. But the chance is there. That chance was enhanced Wednesday when closer Huston Street announced that he was having an MRI to diagnose his right shoulder tightness. The development means Street is likely to begin the year on the disabled list, which will cause a shuffling of bullpen members.

“We’ve got plenty of days left to pitch him, sit him down, get him back up after a day off, see what the stuff looks like, and eventually get him up to the point where we see can he go a couple of days in a row,” Tracy said.

In other developments:

– Tracy will allow right fielder Brad Hawpe to play some first base in Minor League games and plans to use utility man Melvin Mora at first in Cactus League games.

This is a contingency plan. The club has Jason Giambi to step in when Todd Helton needs a rest. But if Helton is injured for a long period, Tracy said he does not want to wear out Giambi. Last season, Giambi was forced into daily duty with the Athletics because of injury and saw his batting average drop to .193 before he was released.

Mora took groundballs at first base on Wednesday. Tracy said he wants to make sure Hawpe is comfortable at first base before counting on that as a possibility. 

– Veterans tend to avoid the bus trips to the Phoenix area, but Giambi will go with the squad to Peoria, Ariz., for Thursday’s game against the Mariners.

– Giambi, Helton, Hawpe and center fielder Dexter Fowler also are candidates to hit in Minor League games. The Rockies have not faced a large number of left-handed pitchers, so Minor League games serve as opportunities for at-bats.

– Righty reliever Matt Belisle threw a perfect inning with a strikeout against the Indians, and has four scoreless innings in three games. Tracy said Belisle is in “attack mode, with some overwhelming stuff.”

Rockies set for match with Indians

Right-handed closer Huston Street is likely headed to the disabled list with a shoulder issue. He’s having an MRI today. Infielder Omar Quintanilla is getting an MRI tomorrow.

So the news has been a little bit of a downer this morning. But the Rockies are playing the Indians today at Hi Corbett Field. Here’s the Rockies’ lineup:

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Dexter Fowler, CF

Todd Helton, 1B

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Brad Hawpe, RF

Chris Iannetta, C

Ian Stewart, 3B

Clint Barmes, 2B

Jorge De La Rosa, LHP

 

More regulars joining the action

Manager Jim Tracy will put right fielder Brad Hawpe into his lineup for the first time Thursday against the Rangers at Hi Corbett Field, and will play first baseman Jason Giambi for the first time on Friday agianst the Giants.

Regular first baseman Todd Helton will make his first Cactus League appearance on Sunday at home against the Mariners.

“We’ll go from there on a day-to-day type of thing,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

Hawpe polishes off the arm

The Rockies finally put right fielder Brad Hawpe in a game — an intrasquad game on Wednesday morning. It turned out to be a chance to do one of the things he does best.

In the fourth inning, infield Jonathan Herrera singled to right and didn’t stop. Hawpe fielded, and threw a strike to second base to barely beat Herrera to the bag.

“You don’t run, with that arm out there,” a smiling Rockies manager Jim Tracy yelled toward Herrrera.

In a regular-season game, anyone would have been questioned for testing Hawpe — whose 47 assists are third-most among Major League right fielders since 2006. In an intrasquad game, such a decision would be considered a favor.

“I thanked Johnny afterwards,” Hawpe said.

Hawpe singled, walked and doubled.

The Rockies held Hawpe out of the early Spring Training workouts because of an infected ingrown toenail, but all along they didn’t intend to use him much in early Cactus League play. It’s the same program that the Rockies have been using for veteran first basemen Todd Helton and Jason Giambi.

Hawpe said, however, he could play Thursday against the Rangers at Hi Corbett Field.

Hawpe to be tested

Rockies right-fielder Brad Hawpe, coming back from an infected ingrown toenail, was held out of outdoor running activities Monday because of the rain in Tucson, but he’ll be tested more aggressively on Tuesday, manager Jim Tracy said. He could return to action shortly thereafter.

Righty reliever Rafael Betancourt’s stiff right shoulder is improving, Tracy said, but he was held out of throwing activities for fear he could slip on the wet ground. Tracy added that righty reliever Matt Belisle is dealing with forearm tightness, a situation the Rockies worked through last season. Righty closer Huston Street, who threw a light bullpen on Sunday, will throw a full bullpen on Tuesday. 

Hurdle continues to shoot for the latter part of this week to give veteran first basemen Todd Helton and Jason Giambi their first Cactus League action.

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