Results tagged ‘ Carlos Gonzalez ’

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?

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.

Gonzalez scratched, insists it isn’t serious

The Rockies scratched outfielder Carlos Gonzalez from Wednesday’s lineup because of sore quadriceps on both legs. On a day when closer Huston Street’s shoulder is the talk of the day, the last thing the Rockies need is an injury to another key player.

Not to worry, said Gonzalez, who was replaced by veteran non-roster invitee Jay Payton in left field.

Gonzalez, who has hit .348 with a .400 on-base percentage and has led hitting coach Don Baylor to say he’s ready if the season were to begin now, said he was merely sore from a training session. Gonzalez is planning to make the bus trip to Peoria, Ariz., for Thursday’s game against the Mariners.

“It was from lifting, my legs got tight, so it’s no big deal — it will feel better tomorrow,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez, 24, said the confidence he gained from a strong second half of last season and a 10-for-17 performance in the 3-games-to-1 loss to the Phillies in last year’s National League Division Series has carried over to this spring. In addition to the high average and OBP, Gonzalez has three doubles, four RBIs, two walks and a steal against one strikeout.

“I’m feeling good at the plate, running and everything,” Gonzalez said. “I have a lot more confidence in msyelf. Everybody believes in me. That gives me a lot of motivation.”

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

 

Strong group to face Dodgers

No one can accuse the Rockies of not using a representative lineup on Tuesday against the Dodgers at Glendale.

In additoin to projected Opening Day starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, the Rockies’ roster for the bus trip includes catcher Chris Iannetta, second baseman Clint Barmes, third baseman Ian Stewart, and outfielders Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, Seth Smith and Ryan Spilborghs.

Split-squad Sunday

The Rockies are playing at Hi Corbett Field and at Tucson Electric Park, against the D-backs in both games.

Here is the lineup fro the game at Hi Corbett:

Eric Young Jr., 2B

Clint Barmes, SS

Carlos Gonzalez, CF

Miguel Olivo, C

Melvin Mora, 3B

Michael Paulk, 1B

Cole Garner, RF

Jay Payton, LF

Aaron Cook, RHP

Here’s the rest of the pitching: RHP Samuel Deduno, LHP Christian Friedrich, RHP Manuel Corpas, LHP Randy Flores.

Here is the lineup for the game at TEP

Dexter Fowler, CF

Omar Quintanilla, 2B

Seth Smith, LF

Ryan Spilborghs, RF

Ian Stewart, 3B

Chris Iannetta, C

Hector Gomez, SS

Jeff Kindel, 1B

Franklin Morales, LHP

Here is the rest of the pitching schedule: RHP Juan Nicasio, RHP Andrew Graham, RHP Juan Rincon, RHP Justin Speier, LHP Matt Reynolds.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.