Results tagged ‘ Carlos Gonzalez ’

Time to get started

It’s time to turn on the radio and dream of a regular season ahead. The Rockies will open Cactus League play today at 1:05 p.m. against the D-backs at Tucson Electric Park. Here is the Rockies’ lineup.

2B Eric Young Jr.

1B Paul Lo Duca

CF Carlos Gonzalez

RF Ryan Spilborghs

LF Seth Smith

C Chris Iannetta

3B Ian Stewart

SS Jonathan Herrera

RHP Jason Hammel

Here is the rest of the Rockies’ pitching schedule for today: LHP Jorge De La Rosa, RHP Manuel Corpas, RHP Juan Rincon and LHP Franklin Morales. The backups, in case any pitcher struggles, are right-handers Alberto Alburquerque, Shane Lindsay, Edgmer Escalona and Andrew Johnston.

D-backs pitchers will be RHP Billy Buckner, RHP T.J. Beam, RHP Bob Howry, LHP Tom Layne and RHP Leo Rosales. 


Roster set for Cactus League opener

With the Rockies having to play split-squad games in Scottsdale and Tempe on Friday, several frontline players are getting the day off Thursday when the Cactus League schedule opens against the D-backs at Tucson Electric Park.

Making the short trip across Tucson will be both projected catchers, Chris Iannetta and Miguel Olivo, third baseman Ian Stewart, and outfielders Carlos Gonzalez, Seth Smith and Ryan Spilborghs. That means first baseman Todd Helton, second baseman Clint Barmes, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, center fielder Dexter Fowler and right fielder Brad Hawpe won’t make it.

Fowler returned to the club after missing two days with a stomach bug. Fowler said he didn’t lose more than a pound or so, but the Rockies told him to take it easy while working out Wednesday and gradually rebuild stamina. Hawpe also is working into condition after missing four days early in camp with an infected ingrown toenail.

Melvin Mora and Eric Young Jr., utility players who will be used in the infield and outfield, will make the trip. Manager Jim Tracy said early in the spring Mora would play third base, where he played last year for the Orioles, but he’ll be worked into other positions, including the outfield and first base. Young played left field in Monday’s intrasquad game, and will see time at third base and center field in addition to his natural positoin of second.

Corpas leaves Tracy pleased, other notes

Right-handed reliever Manuel Corpas, trying to return from an elbow injury that slowed him last season and trying to regain the form he showed in closing for the NL Champion Rockies in 2007, had a throwing Saturday session that left manager Jim Tracy encouraged.

Corpas has been nursing a hamstring problem this spring, but that wasn’t a problem when he faced hitters Saturday.

“Let’s go back and realize what I was watching from the other side of the field and what I saw take place in 2007,” said Tracy, who managed the Pirates at that point. “This was a special guy.

“What I wanted to see today, which he showed me more than once is driving the ball down. This is a very effective guy when he’s down in the zone.”

— Two players in particular have stood out for Tracy.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hit .297 with 32 home runs and 92 RBIs last season. To do that, he had to overcome a bad start, as well as some bad habits in the batter’s box.

Tracy said, “I remember looking him right in the eye and saying, ‘A 6-foot-4-inch shortstop with a 5-foot-10-inch offensive approach … The first thing that you have to do in order to hit is stand up. They throw you a breaking ball and your head is going [upward] and the ball’s going that way [downward].

Man, he’s over it now.”

Tracy also discussed left fieler Carlos Gonzalez. Like many special hitters, the ball sounds different, and travels differently.


Gonzalez can hit leadoff … or anywhere

By the end of last season, the Rockies’ best lineup had left fielder Carlos Gonzalez hitting leadoff and center fielder Dexter Fowler hitting second.

Gonzalez began realizing his power potential with 12 home runs after the All-Star break last season. Such a performance begs an interesting question: Does Gonzalez fit lower in the order?

Manager Jim Tracy can see that, but said Wednesday that Gonzalez is a much better fit atop the lineup the way this team is constructed.

“Am I sitting here saying to you that as we go along that it wouldn’t make sense that we give Brad Hawpe a much-deserved day off CarGo couldn’t hit fifth? He certinly could,” Tracy said. “But when you look at the structure of the club, this guy is tremendous — he’s a five-tool player. Depending on where you put him in the lineup, are you taking part of his game away from him?

“No disrespect meant to Todd [Helton], but I’m not asking Todd to steal bases. If Todd Helton is on base in front of a ‘Tulo’ [Troy Tulowitzki] and let’s say you put CarGo down there, then neither one of them would run.”

Gonzalez, 24, stole 16 bases in 89 games last year. He and Fowler, who turns 24 on March 22 and finished last year with 27 steals, could make a jump in that category after a year’s expereince,


Tulowitzki, Spilborghs and Hawpe arrive

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki showed up at Hi Corbett Field on Monday morning. So did outfielders Dexter Fowler and Ryan Spilborghs. The first full-squad workout isn’t until Friday, but just about everyone is in. The only regulars who haven’t been seen are outfielders Brad Hawpe and Seth Smith. But like the others, there is no concern about them being on time or in shape.


I saw Tulowitzki recently in Denver, and he said he was trying to curb is excitement because it’s so early and the season is so long. Tulowitzki, a high-energy player, is still trying to contain himself. But that’s a little harder to do now.


“Anytime my buddies or family ask if I’m excited for Spring Training to start, my answer is always I’m not as excited until I get here, and I see the guys, and I see the fields, and I see everybody that I basically go to work with,” Tulowitzki said. “That kicks it into the next gear.


“Being here and putting your stuff in the locker and being in this atmosphere gets you ready to start playing.”


Update: Was sitting and enjoying dinner when it hit me. There was one other position player I hadn’t seen as of Sunday — outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. Well, it’s the same as with Hawpe and Smith: He’ll be ready.


Gonzalez staying off soggy ground

Rockies manager Jim Tracy emphasized Wednesday that left fielder Carlos Gonzalez’s left hamstring is not strained or pulled. Gonzalez did leave Tuesday night’s 11-10 victory over the Padres with tightness in the hamstring. But Tracy said that was for precautionary reasons.

Not putting him in the lineup on Wednesday was yet another precaution. It rained much of the day in Denver, and the temperature is likely not to be much higher than Tuesday’s gametime temp of 48.

Seth Smith, who replaced Gonzalez on Tuesday, was in the lineup in left field and in the leadoff spot.

Tracy also announced that Rafael Betancourt, who suffered soreness in his right calf after pitching Saturday at Arizona, was to throw a touch-and-feel bullpen session, in hopes that he’ll be available to return to game action soon.


Clean-shaven Helton in the lineup

Rockies first baseman Todd Helton survived. The beard and goatee that has been a part of him for recent years, however, is gone.

Helton was in the dugout when Carlos Gonzalez’s line drive smashed into his left shin during the ninth inning of Friday night’s 7-5 loss to the D-backs. Amazingly, Helton ws feeling no ill effects on Saturday and was back in the lineup. The pain had numbed his leg from his calf to his foot.

When Helton showed up at Chase Field on Saturday, Rockies manager Jim Tracy did a double-take, and not just because Helton was pain-free.

“He came into my office today and said he was my new first baseman,” Tracy said, joking about the new look. “I said, ‘Welcome to the team.'”

Tracy said the foul ball was frightening for everyone in the dugout.

“Somebody was looking out for us, I’ll tell you that right now,” Tracy said. “If that ball had hit him in the chest or in the face, there would have been serious, serious problems. We don’t have our first baseman here. He’s done.”

Helton is batting third in a left-handed lineup against D-backs right-hander Max Scherzer. five of the first seven hitters swing from the left.

Saturday is a big game for the Rockies. The Dodgers blasted the Giants, 12-1, earlier Saturday, which means the Rockies have a chance to pump their lead in the National League Wild Card race to 3 1/2 games.


The value of knowing your role

We’ll see if Rafael Betancourt is the eighth-inning answer for the Rockies. But at least he knows the question, so to speak.

Betancourt, acquired from the Indians on Thursday for Minor League pitcher Connor Graham, joined the Rockies on Friday for the big series with the Giants. Beyond some TV footage and an Interleague series past, Rockies manager Jim Tracy knows little of Betancourt. But Tracy knows Betancourt knows what he needs to know to fill a primary setup man in place of Manuel Corpas, who underwent surgery to remove a bone chip from his right elbow.

“He knows what he’s doing,” Tracy said. “He’s going to make you beat him with the bat. This guy has never been a guy that creates opportunity for the other team by walking people. He’s a strike-thrower, throws very hard, and has all the things that are necessary.

“Being a strike-thrower, for me that’s the most important thing when you get down to the last six outs of the game.”

Betancourt, 34, who broke in with the Indians in 2003 and didn’t pitch for anyone else, sounded shocked after learning of the trade on Thursday. The blank stare was gone Friday. He was accepted within the expanding Venezuelan corner of the ballclub. He knew veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba and fellow relievers Juan Rincon and Franklin Morales already. It turns out young outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and freshly called-up pitcher Jhoulys Chacin grew up within a bout a 10-minute radius of where Betancourt grew up.

And a look at the standings, with the Rockies a game ahead of the Giants in the National League Wild Card race and facing them in a three-game series starting Friday night, made Betancourt feel even more at home.

“It’s a weird feeling, the first time this has happened to me, but I’m just excited to be here,” he said. “All these years I’ve been watching trades that are made. it’s happened to me now. I always wondered how it feels to get traded to a team in the pennant race. It’s vey special.”

— The Rockies designated righty releiver Ryan Speier for assignment. Speier, who is out of Minor League options, was activated from the disabled list earlier this week but had not pitched. Speier said it was simply that a more experienced reliever was available.

The Rockies are hoping Speier clears waivers and can be assigned to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

— Tracy said Corpas’ surgery went well enough that the team will wait two weeks to see how the elbow heals, then hopefully proceed with rehab.

Torrealba has baseball on the mind

Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba was back in the clubhouse and, more importantly, in a baseball frame of mind Tuesday afternoon.

Torrealba, who last played June 1 then had toi deal with the kidnappings if his son and two other family members in Venezuela,  played four get-in-shape games for Triple-A Colorado Springs (4-for-15). He was to be looked over by the Rockies’ training staff Tuesday before the club could activate him.

“I feel good,” Torrealba said. “I’m thinking about baseball. I had my son with me down in Colorado Springs, and that was good. I’m ready to help the team in any way I can.”

The lineup card for Tuesday’s game with the Dodgers listed Paul Phillips as the reserve catcher, behind Chris Iannetta, so it woudl be at least Wednesday before Torrealba will be back on the roster.

Here are the starting lineups:


Seth Smith, LF

Clint Barmes, 2B

Todd Helton, 1B

Brad Hawpe, RF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Ian Stewart, 3B

Carlos Gonzalez, CF

Chris Iannetta, C

Jason Marquis, P


Juan Pierre, LF

Rafael Furcal, SS

Andre Ethier, RF

Casey Blake, 3B

Mat Kemp, CF

Juan Castro, 2B

A.J. Ellis, C

Chad Billingsley, P

Bigger bat means better Smith

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