Results tagged ‘ Carlos Gonzalez ’

Nicasio to pitch against Athletics; Smith not making trip

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio, coming back from a broken neck that he suffered last year, gets his first Cactus League outing today against the Athletics at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Nicasio threw two impressive innings in an intrasquad game on Sunday. Listen free to an exclusive webcast.

Nicasio has insisted all along he has no fear of balls coming back to him. He suffered the frightening injury last Aug. 5, when a line drive from the Nationals’ Ian Desmond struck him in the temple.

Interestingly, the Athletics have agreed to forego the designated hitter, so Nicasio will also have to bat.

For the second time this spring, the Rockies are starting Charlie Blackmon in the leadoff spot. Blackmon, batting for the fourth outfield spot, homered off the Giants’ Tim Lincecum on Wednesday. Also, catching prospect Wilin Rosario will start.

The Athletics are not bringing former Rockies outfielder Seth Smith, who was sent to Oakland during the offseason for pitchers Guillermo Moscoso and Josh Outman.

Here are the lineups:

ROCKIES BATTING ORDER

Charlie Blackmon, CF

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Casey Blake, 3B

Wilin Rosario, C

Juan Nicasio, P

ROCKIES SCHEDULED RELIEVERS

Tyler Chatwood, RHP

Edwar Cabrera, LHP

Rafael Betancourt, RHP

Stephen Dodson, RHP

ATHLETICS BATTING ORDER

Jemile Weeks, 2B

Eric Sogard, SS

Coco Crisp, CF

Josh Reddick, RF

Kurt Suzuki, C

Brandon Allen, 1B

Josh Donaldson, 3B

Brandon Moss, LF

Brandon McCarthy, RHP

ATHLETICS SCHEDULED RELIEVERS

Jerry Blevins, LHP

Andrew Carignan, RHP

Grant Balfour, RHP

Fabio Castro, LHP

Rockies set lineup for Cactus opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Rockies open the Cactus League schedule against the D-backs on Saturday afternoon. Here is their batting order:

Dexter Fowler, CF

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Tyler Colvin, DH

Ramon Hernandez, C

Nolan Arenado, 3B

Ben Paulsen, 1B

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz will be the starting pitcher, with Josh Outman, Rob Scahill, Matt Reynolds, Zach Putnam and Dustin Molleken are on the throwing schedule, with Mike Ekstrom and Josh Roenicke are scheduled as backups in case an inning gets out of hand.

Rockies manager Jim Tracy wants to be able to use Fowler at leadoff and Scutaro second in the order, but has said that could change. Scutaro hit toward the bottom of the order primarily for the Red Sox last season, but he is coming off a .299 batting average and .358 on-base percentage led the Rockies to plan on him hitting toward the top.

Veterans being given the day off are first basemen Todd Helton and Jason Giambi, and third baseman Casey Blake.

(This from the Rockies’ game notes:)

BROADCAST INFORMATION:Today’s game will be broadcast on Rockies Radio 850 KOA. Fourteen Rockies Cactus League games will be broadcast on 850 KOA, six games on ROOT Sports and 10 games on MLB.TV accessed through coloradorockies.com … The games broadcast on coloradorockies.com will be called by the voices of the Rockies Jack Corrigan and Jerry Schemmel.

Publication believes age will hurt Rockies’ defense

The Rockies’ decision to go older this year was designed to increase the team’s savvy and improve situational hitting. But will it hurt the defense?

ACTA Sports, publishers of The Fielding Bible – Volume III, seems to think older is not necessarily better with the glove. The publication points to four moves hurting the defense, under its various formulas that rate players in a category called Defensive Runs Saved.

– The publication reported that right-handed pitcher Aaron Cook, who has signed a Minor League contract with the Red Sox, saved six runs last year and was the main reason the Rockies’ staff was rated best in baseball from a fielding standpoint.

– Mark Ellis, who signed with the Dodgers as a free agent, saved 17 runs last season, and bolstered the defense after arriving in a midseason trade. Marco Scutaro, who played last season for the Red Sox, replaces Ellis.

– The book ranks Michael Cuddyer, a free agent previously with the Twins, as a downgrade from Seth Smith, now with the Athletics, in right field.

– Also, catcher Chris Iannetta, who was traded to the Angels, saved eight runs in what the publication rated as a tremendous defensive year. This year’s publication predicts veteran Ramon Hernandez, who played for the Reds last season, will cost the Rockies four runs.

Overall, The Fielding Bible rated the Rockies fifth overall in the Majors defensively, and is predicting a drop to 14th.

Of course, the Rockies could beg to differ with the publication at two of the positions cited.

– When the Rockies signed Cuddyer, one of the attributes they mentioned was his throwing arm, which they felt was superior to Smith’s and the team has no doubt in Cuddyer’s ability to handle right. Right is roomy at Coors, but Dexter Fowler covers extreme ground in center, and left — where 2010 Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner Carlos Gonzalez plays — is considered more challenging than right because of the room that must be covered.

– The Rockies also have confidence in the range of Scutaro. Last season, Scutaro played in 109 games and started 103 at shortstop for the Red Sox. The Rockies want to rest shortstop Troy Tulowitzki more than in the past, and Scutaro’s range makes him a logical option to allow him to do so. The club would have to feel a second baseman with enough range to play short is not a defensive downgrade.

 

Rox pursuing Beltran and Cuddyer; hope to sign one

The Rockies are trying to sign free-agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, two Major League sources told MLB.com on Tuesday. The Rockies’ involvement with Beltran was first reported Tuesday by CBS Sports.

A six-time All-Star, Beltran is coming off a 2011 in which he hit a combined .300 with 22 home runs and 84 RBIs for the Giants and Mets. He hit .323 with seven homers and 18 RBIs in 44 games after the Giants acquired him for a late-season stretch run.

The switch-hitting Beltran, who turns 35 on April 24, is a career .283 hitter with a .361 on-base percentage, and has 302 home runs and 1,146 RBIs. In 25 career games at Coors Field, Beltran has hit .276 with six home runs, 24 RBIs, nine doubles and a triple. He has compiled an .880 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) at Coors as well.

The Rockies’ search for an outfielder to bolster their lineup has led them to pursue free-agent Michael Cuddyer, who is considering a three-year offer with the Twins, the team with which he has spent his entire Major League career.

It is not clear when a decision from Beltran, who has fielded interest from the Cardinals and the Red Sox, or Cuddyer will come.  The Rockies are looking at signing one outfielder to bolster the lineup. Cody Ross’ name has surfaced, but the Rockies are not pursuing him at this time. They are unlikely to do so until after looking at other possibilities. <p />

That outfielder, however, will not be Josh Willingham, whose name has been connected with the Rockies in recent days. Willingham’s agent, Matt Sosnick, said Willingham’s decision is down to three teams but the Rockies are not one of them, and Rockies sources say they have not been in on Willingham.

The Rockies currently have an outfield, with Seth Smith in left, Dexter Fowler in center and Carlos Gonzalez in right. However, the Rockies have been dangling Smith, a left-handed hitter with strong numbers against righty pitching, in trade talks in attempts to shore up other areas of the club.

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

Vargas seeks fresh start with Rox

Uncertainty doesn’t compute with Rockies veteran right-handed pitcher Claudio Vargas, who is in camp on a Minor League contract.

 

In 2009, Vargas joined the Brewers in a deadline trade with the Dodgers and went 1-0 with a 1.78 ERA in 28 games as the primary right-handed setup man. Vargas parlayed that performance into a one-year, $900,000 contract with the Brewers.

 

Problem was the Brewers also signed LaTroy Hawkins to be the primary righty setup man. In a floating role, Vargas went 1-0 with a 7.32 ERA in 17 games before the Brewers released him on June 4. Vargas signed with the Dodgers and went to Triple-A Albuquerque, but went 2-6 with a 5.89 ERA in 10 starts and eventually was released.

 

“It was different for me,” said Vargas, who turns 32 on May 19. “Even when the season started, they never told me what role I was going to have. That’s hard when you don’t know when you’re going to pitch. It’s hard when one day you pitch when the game is one-run or tied, and the next day you pitch when the game is one-sided.

 

“This game is hard. You have to set up your mind like a computer.”

 

Realizing he’ll have to prove himself, Vargas went 4-1 with a 3.49 ERA in 16 games in the Dominican Winter League this past season. The performance earned him a shot with the Rockies.

 

Vargas said the Rockies were a good fit for him.

 

“They want to win, and they’re taking more veteran people,” he said. “I don’t say young guys can’t do the job. But they prefer somebody with experience on the mound. We’ll see what happens. I feel very good, and I know I’ll have a good spring.”

 

Commercial appeal for CarGo

 

This winter, Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez was featured as part of Gillette’s “Young Guns.” Gonzalez spent the afternon and into the evening working through anotehr commercial shoot.

 

 

Delay is not denial, CarGo publicists insists

Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez will travel from Venezuela to Denver on Sunday, rather than Wednesday as previously announced, according to tweets from his publicists. The tweets say he will receive the visa on Wednesday. But there has been no change in his plan to take a physical and make official the seven-year, $80 million contract he has agreed to with the Rockies.

Travel delays or last-minute logistical changes are no big deal. If you recall, players from Latin American countries often are delayed by visa issues when they try to make the trip to the U.S.

Rockies, Gonzalez close to a deal? Many say no

Reports via Twitter out of Venezuela have Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez having agreed to a seven-year, $80 million contract with the Rockies.

 

However, club officials reached Thursday would not confirm the report, beyond saying the Rockies would like a long-term deal with Gonzalez, who finished third in National League Most Valuable Player voting. Gonzalez’s agent, Scott Boras, could not be immediately reached.

 

Since the original tweet, in Spanish from a radio commentator in Venezuela, numerous reporters in Venezuela and the U.S. are saying there is no deal. A tweet from CarGoMedia5, which is believed to be official, denies there is a deal.

 

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki recently signed a seven-year, $134 million extension that will keep him with the club through 2020. Tulowitzki has three years left on his current deal. The Rockies also reached out to Gonzalez and ace pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who finished third in the Cy Young Award voting in 2010.

 

If such a deal is completed, it would qualify as a holiday shocker.

 

The Rockies often look to lock up young stars before they reach free agency, and Gonzalez won’t be eligible until 2014 at the earliest. However, Boras’ clients tend to test the market, and receive big-money, long-term contracts, when they become eligible to do so.

 

It will be the biggest pre-arbitration deal signed by a Rockies player since Tulowitzki signed a six-year, $31 million contract after a strong rookie year in 2007.

 

 

Jimenez: From reading history books to writing them

As a youth in the Dominican Republic, Ubaldo Jimenez recalled reading in school history books about pitcher Juan Marichal, the former San Francisco Giants great who was the first Dominican player to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

 

Now Jimenez’s 2010 start for the Rockies has his name being mentioned alongside of that of Marichal, as well as other all-time greats.

 

When Jimenez entered AT&T Park on Monday — he had to walk past a bronze statue of Marichal en route to the visiting team player entrance — Marichal owned one of three ERAs in history lower than his 0.88 through 10 starts. Marichal had a 0.59 in 1966, Hoyt Wilhelm posted a 0.83 in 1959 and Eddie Cicotte had a 0.84 in 1919.

 

All Jimenez did Monday was shut out the Giants, 4-0, and drop his ERA to 0.78.

 

Jimenez smiles humbly when reminded that, at least for two months, he has written his name in history alongside those of some of the greatest pitchers in history.

 

“I’m just proud for what I’ve been able to accomplish this year,” Jimenez said. “It’s always big to be mentioned with a guy like Juan Marichal. He’s the only Dominican in the Hall of Fame. I’m just humble for the opportunity, for the chance.”

 

Jimenez said he was pitching for the Rockies in Denver the 2007 World Series when he met Marichal and they’ve talked “a couple of times.”

 

Jimenez said he never copied the towering leg kick, which is depicted with the statue and is shown in thousands of pictures. He never thought he’d have anything in common with Marichal. He thought he’d never get any closer to Marichal than the textbook.

 

“I was in high school,” Jimenez said. “I didn’t even think I was going to sign with any team. I was just playing baseball for love. That was when I was around 15, so I only thought about playing the game for love, for passion.”

 

Now he can’t help but play for history. And his teammates can’t help but be aware.

 

Rockies infielders Clint Barmes and Troy Tulowitzki made strong defensive plays in the seventh. Center fielder Carlos Gonzalez helped preserve the shutout by crashing into the wall to grab Bengie Molina’s leadoff drive in the eighth.

 

With each inning on the MLB.com Gameday application, Jimenez’s ERA is updated after each batter. Gonzalez said players don’t really need to see the stats. They’re quite aware.

 

“I wanted him to stay and finish the game,” Gonzalez said. “Of course we all know what he’s doing. We want to make sure he gets everything from us. We want to be able to help him.”

 

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?

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