Results tagged ‘ Clint Barmes ’

Rockies: Helton, Hernandez rest; Colvin gets a start

Rockies manager Jim Tracy decided Wednesday to give veteran first baseman Todd Helton and catcher Ramon Hernandez extra rest by not starting them in Wednesday’s first game of a doubleheader against the Pirates at PNC Park. Jason Giambi started at first base and Willin Rosario was the catcher.

Game 1 also gave the Rockies an opportunity to start Tyler Colvin in center field. Colvin, hitting .323 in part-time duty, started instead of Dexter Fowler, who is at .224 after getting a hit in Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss to the Pirates.

“Hernandez and Helton, just because of the opportunity to give them a few more hours to recharge their batteries,” Tracy said. “I’m looking at our lineup in Game 1 and Game 2 and feeling real good about the fact that these lineups right here can win on any given day.

“I’m not taking anything away from Dexter because I’m using Dexter in the second game, but I want to keep Tyler Colvin in play and try to find him games to be involved in.”

Tracy said he plans to start left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who homered twice Tuesday night, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and right fielder Michael Cuddyer in both games.

Right-handed relief pitcher Zach Putnam, recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs as the 26th player (allowed under new Collective Bargaining Agreement rules for doubleheaders), will wear No. 54. Putnam was 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA, three saves, 11 strikeouts and three walks in five Triple-A appeareances. Last season, Putnam appeared in eight games with the Indians (1-1, 6.14 ERA, nine strikeouts, two walks), and came to the Rockies over the winter for pitcher Kevin Slowey.

The Pirates are a heavily right-handed hitting team, which plays into the hands of today’s starting pitchers, Juan Nicasio and Jhoulys Chacin. Nicasio has held right-handed hitters to a .226 career aveage in a big-league career that has consisted of 14 starts last year and three this yer, and Game 2 starter Jhoulys Chacin has held righties to a career .208 average. This year, righties are hitting .100 (3-for-30), the fourth-lowest average among right-handed pitchers in baseball.

Rockies, Game 1

Marco Scutaro, 2B (.224)

Tyler Colvin, CF (.323)

Carlos Gonzalez, LF (.278)

Troy Tulowitzki, SS (.293)

Jason Giambi, 1B (.273)

Michael Cuddyer, RF (.322)

Wilin Rosario, C (.261)

Chris Nelson, 3B (.239)

Juan Nicasio, RHP (1-0, 6.19 ERA)

Pirates, Game 1

Alex Presley, LF (.288)

Jose Tabata, RF (.196)

Andrew McCutchen, CF (.339)

Neil Walker, 2B (.222)

Casey McGehee, 1B (.289)

Pedro Alvarez, 3B (.108)

Clint Barmes, SS (.146)

Michael McKenry, C (.286)

James McDonald, RHP (0-1, 3.45 ERA)

 

Tracy stays with Fowler despite scary matchup numbers

Tuesday night is as good a night as any for Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler to crack Pirates right-handed pitcher Kevin Correia.

Fowler is 0-for-19 in 21 plate appearances against Correia. Fowler has struck out nine times against one walk, and has a sacrifice bunt.

With Fowler hitting .222, it would seem a good time to sit him. But Fowler went 2-for-5 over the final two games of the Milwaukee series, when the Rockies took 2-of-3, and manager Jim Tracy said he wants to make sure to send Fowler the message that he is the starter in center field. Last year, Fowler struggled early when he was in and out of the lineup. After a demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs, Fowler received steady playing time and was one of the hottest hitters on the team in the second half of the year.

This year Fowler has drawn seven walks and has a .327 on-base percentage, as well as two home runs and six RBIs from the No. 2 spot in the batting order.

Tracy has rotated his bench players into the starting lineup at various times, and said Wednesday’s doubleheader is a time to continue that practice. But he also wants his regular players to feel that they’re regulars, even when playing through slumps.

“I want them all in a good place, and I want them all to come to the ballpark with the realization and the expectation that unless I’ve told them something differently, that you expect to play,” Tracy said. “I don’t want them walking in here feeling like they have to do guesswork from day today whether or not they’re gonig to be in there.”

The most favorable matcup for the Rockies is catcher Ramon Hernandez, who is 3-for-5 (.600) with a double agaisnt Correia. Also, Carlos Gonzalez, hitting a pedestrian .240, is 4-for-14 with two home runs and a double against Correia.

Rockies lefty Jamie Moyer, the oldest pitcher to win a game in Major League history, will try to add to his record tonight at 49 years and 158 days.

Rockies lineup

Marco Scutaro, 2B (.222)

Dexter Fowler, CF (.222)

Carlos Gonzalez, LF (.240)

Troy Tulowitzki, SS (.296)

Todd Helton, 1B (.239)

Michael Cuddyer, RF (.345)

Ramon Hernandez, C (.289)

Chris Nelson, 3B (.256)

Jamie Moyer, LHP (.000)

Pirates lineup

Alex Presley, LF (.273)

Jose Tabata, RF (.170)

Andrew McCutchen, CF (.351)

Casey McGehee, 1B (.278)

Neil Walker, 2B (.240)

Yamico Navarro, 3B (.000)

Rod Barajas, C (.091)

Clint Barmes, SS (.089)

Kevin Correia, RHP (.251)

A busy Rockies weekend

Enjoying time off near the Thanksgiving holiday, but I thought I’d take a few minutes to comment on some news items involving the Rockies:

– Two free agent targets appear headed elsewhere, with outfielder Grady Sizemore reportedly having reached an agreement with the Indians and onetime Rockies infielder Clint Barmes reportedly headed to Pittsburgh to rejoin his old Rox manager, Clint Hurdle.

The Sizemore situation was a race against time. Signing him was somewhat predicated on trading left fielder Seth Smith. The plan to trade Smith was to fill the second base hole or one of the starting pitching holes. Although there have been stories about talks with the Braves about infielder Martin Prado and the Rockies have been debating trying to pry former Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson from the Padres, not much in the way of real negotiation had materialized.

But with all the health reports on Sizemore positive after a postseason knee surgery (he had surgery on the other knee in 2009), teams decided to move quickly. The team that knows him the best, the Indians, figured the price was right and made the move.

The Rockies see Smith as an asset, so it’s not as if they’re dying to trade him. They’d deal him, but not in a trade that they aren’t totally comfortable making. To trade Smith now, the Rockies need a viable alternative in left, whether that player comes in the same trade or the Rockies end up with a left fielder through other means. Or they can just keep Smith.

“We like Seth Smith — he’s a good player for us,” Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd told me the other day.

Barmes would have made a lot of sense. He played shortstop last year for the Astros, and will do so for the Pirates. If the Rockies could have signed him, he would have offered a high-quality replacement if Troy Tulowitzki were to be injured.

If the Rox don’t find a second baseman, some combination of Jonathan Herrera, Chris Nelson and Eric Young Jr. would have to suffice at second. Both have experience at short, and can move over in case of injury to Tulowitzki.

Since Tulowitzki is a big shortstop who never takes it easy, it would be nice to have someone of Barmes’ ability to plug into the position. It would give manager Jim Tracy peace of mind when he wants to rest Tulowitzki during the season.

It’s a concern, but the Rockies aren’t going to build their offseason strategy around protecting themselves from a longterm injury to Tulowitzki. Replacing him for a few days for a nagging injury is one thing. A long absence is something else.

“If we lost Tulowitzki for a long period of time, we’re in trouble,” O’Dowd said. “I don’t know of many teams that can withstand losing their best player for a long period of time.”

– The Rockies dealt veteran utility man Ty Wigginton to the Phillies on Sunday for a player to be named.

While it’s nice to have a vet to come off the bench, the Rockies might be covered with a younger player. They liked the offensive work of late-season call-up Jordan Pacheco, and Tracy used Pacheco at first base and third base — essentially the same way he used Wigginton.

Keep an eye on Rockies pitching, Barmes discussions could occur today

As MLB.com reported last week and as the Denver Post reported last night, the Rockies’ wide-ranging search for an innings-eating starting pitcher, or two, includes standout free-agent right-hander Roy Oswalt (4-0, 2.25 ERA in five career starts at Coors Field).

The Post reported that the Rockies won’t trade for the Astros’ Wandy Rodriguez, who want quite a bit in return. But just about any young, accomplished starter is on the radar — the Marlins’ Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez, and the Rays’ Jeff Neimann and Wade Davis. All have been Rockies targets before. The Rockies are interested in their one-time No. 1 pitcher Jeff Francis and Kevin Millwood, who finished last season in purple pinstripes, as well as, according to the Post, Paul Maholm.

The Rockies are dangling left fielder Seth Smith in trade talks for either a pitcher or a second baseman, or both. That helps explain the pursuit of Grady Sizemore, who is recovering from right knee surgery but, according to his agent, will be ready to start Spring Training and to start the season.

If they don’t make a trade at the keystone position, they could look to the past and pursue Clint Barmes, who played for the Astros last season but had spent all is previous seasons with the Rockies. Barry Meister, Barmes’ agent, will arrive at the MLB General Managers meetings in Milwaukee today. Although there have been internal discussions about Barmes — who is attractive to the Rockies because he can move to shortstop if Troy Tulowitzki needs a break or is banged up — there had not been negotiations as of yesterday. Barmes is receiving interest at a shortstop and a second baseman, and is open to playing each spot.

Potential trade targets are the Braves’ Martin Prado and the Padres’ Orlando Hudson, with the Rockies already having had discussions with the Braves.

In the coming weeks, watch for the Rockies to seriously explore dealing right-handed reliever Huston Street, who is guaranteed $8 million next year. Rafael Betancourt ended up supplanting Street as closer late in the regular season.

Rockies acquire Lindstrom from Astros

The Rockies filled a key spot in their bullpen by acquiring right-hander Matt Lindstrom from the Astros. Full details will come soon.

Lindstrom, who turns 31 on Feb. 11, went 2-5 with a 4.39 ERA for the Astros last season. The Rockies attempted to acquire him in November, when they obtained righty Felipe Paulino from the Astros for second baseman Clint Barmes, but the clubs could not find a match.

Lindstrom is 10-13 with a 4.00 ERA in 249 relief appearances with the Marlins (2007-09) and the Astros (2010). According to media reports, the Astros were looking to deal the arbitration-eligible Lindstrom for payroll-management reasons.

Lindstrom, who has an offseason home in the Denver area, is a strike-thrower — 187 career strikeouts to 91 walks in 225 innings. He also has earned 43 career saves, including 23 for the Astros last season. Lindstrom began last season as the Astros’ closer, but he went to the disabled list with a back issue and never regained consistency. Lindstrom joins Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle as primary right-handed setup men.

A key reason for acquiring Lindstrom is for protection in case right-hander Huston Street is injured. Street missed the first 69 games of last season with a shoulder injury and suffered some setbacks during his rehab. Left-hander Franklin Morales, who is still with the club, struggled when replacing Street. Manuel Corpas, the Rockies’ one-time closer, had some success in the role but was released after the season.

The trade for Lindstrom also pushes the Rockies’ Major League roster to the limit of 40, which means they’ll need to either make all further signings Minor League contracts, or they’ll have to make a move to add someone on a Major League deal. The Rockies have acknowledged that they’re trying to re-sign left-handed starter Jeff Francis, their No. 1 pitcher before shoulder injuries marred his last two seasons, and left-handed reliever Joe Beimel.

 

Rockies looking at SS Everett for Minor League deal

The Rockies, looking for protection in case shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is injured, say they are “kicking the tires” with free agent Adam Everett, a club source said Tuesday. The club is

The Tigers released Everett last June after he appeared in 51 games and hit .185. Everett played for the Astros 2001-07, the Twins in 2008 and the Tigers in 2008 and 2009.

By trading Clint Barmes to the Astros last month, the Rockies lost their most proven backup shortstop. Barmes started at second but played short when Tulowitzki was out with a fractured left wrist.

Jonathan Herrera and Chris Nelson have played short in the Minors, but Herrera played more second base in the Majors, and the Rockies began training Nelson as a multi-position infielder last year.

The team has acquired Jose Lopez in a trade with the Mariners, and on Tuesday was closing in on a two-year contract with Ty Wigginton. Both play multiple infield positions.

 

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

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.”

 

Could Rox return to the Matsui era?

An intriguing possibility for the Rockies presented itself when the Astros asked unconditional release waivers on second baseman Kazuo Matsui after their game with the Rockies on Wednesday night. Matsui, of course, was one of the key cogs in the Rockies’ run to the 2007 World Series. Matsui, 34, signed with the Astros after that season. He hit .293 with 20 stolen bases in 96 games for the Astros in 2008 but dropped to .250 with 19 steals in 132 games in 2009.

Any club has the right to claim Matsui by Monday. The Rockies aren’t inclined to do so and it’s not clear if anyone wants to pick him up an clear a roster spot for him. However, if he clears waivers, it’s fair to say the Rockies have reason to be intrigued.

Matsui was a superstar in Japan. After much fanfare, he signed with the Mets for the 2004 season but didn’t blossom in the Majors until joining the Rockies in a 2006 trade. Matsui hit .300 with six home runs, 56 RBIs and 40 steals in 132 total games with the Rockies. His high point with the Rockies was a grand slam in the 10-5 victory in Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Phillies.

Also, Matsui was well-liked by teammates and management.

What role would he have with the Rockies today? Just guessing here, but he certainly could add depth. He would more likely have to go to Triple-A Colorado Springs for regular playing time, but could be a reasonable alternative if Rockies starting second baseman Clint Barmes continues to struggle offensively and defensively. The drawback about Matsui, however, would be that it would be hard to ask him to play shortstop on days that Troy Tulowitzki rests. Barmes can do that. Also, Matsui’s decline the last two years left veteran baseball observers questioning how much he has left, especially after years of back issues.

Still, it would be worth it for the Rockies to at least consider approaching Matsui to increase depth.

Opening Day gift No. 2

Rockies second baseman Clint Barmes doesn’t have much trouble identifying the high point of his career — so far. On April 4, 2005,

Barmes launched a two-run homer with two out in the bottom fo the ninth off then-Padres closer Trevor Hoffman for a 12-10 Rockies victory at Coors Field.

Hoffman happens to be with the Brewers and could theoretically be facing Barmes with the game on the line.

If it happens, at least Barmes knows he’s done it before.

“That would be tough to beat for the best moment of my career. I’m hoping this year I’ll get that opportunity. Maybe it’ll be a big hit in the playoffs or whatever. At this point, that’s going to be a tough moment for me to beat.

 

“People still remind me of it, but not as often. I used to have a lot of fans say, ‘Hey, I was at the ’05 Opening Day.’ I’d hear that a lot for the first couple of years after it happened. It’s faded a little bit. I’ll have one every once in awhile that will bring it up. That’s pretty special for me to have as a memory.

 

“I know I don’t have the ball. I’m pretty sure I have the bat from that moment. But, more than anything, I have the video footage. I’ve got a bunch of different angles from all that happened. And I have the memories of rounding third, coming in and seeing everybody crowded around the plate. That’s definitely a special moment I’ll never forget.

 

“The last thing crossing my mind was I was going to hit a home run off Trevor Hoffman to win a game. I’d never done that in my career, at any point, as far as a walk-off goes. I was swinging the bat well that day. It was Opening Day. I’d already had three hits. I felt comfortable at the plate. The first pitch I saw off Hoffman, he tried to get ahead with a fastball. It was a good pitch to hit. I took a swing at it.

 

“I can still go back and remember thinking off the bat I knew it was a home run, and I went, ‘I cannot believe that I just did that.’ Rounding first, it was very, very surreal.”

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.