Results tagged ‘ Clint Hurdle ’

Tulowitzki suffers slight quadriceps injury

Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitkzi left Sunday’s 3-2 victory over the Marlins before the top of the ninth inning because he suffered a strain of his left quadriceps in the same area of a complete quadricesp tendon tear that cost him 47 games last season.

 

Tulowitzki suffered the injury in the sixth while trying to change direction and reach for an errant throw from pitcher Aaron Cook, who had fielded Ross Gload’s groundball. Tulowitzki stayed in the game until the ninth, when he was pulled from the game after a discussion with head trainer Keith Dugger.

 

Clint Barmes replaced him and helped preserve the lead by fielding a Cody Gross grounder and starting a double play to erase pinch-runner Cameron Maybin, who entered the game after John Baker’s one-out double. Huston Street struck out Jeremy Hermida to end the game.

 

“I definitely wanted to be out there, but at the same time I was trying to be smart about it,” Tulowitzki said. “I thought that ‘Barmie’ was the best option. Everybody agreed. ‘Doogie’ said, ‘If you go out there, blow out and miss two months of the season, it doesn’t do the team any good.’ “

 

Manager Clint Hurdle said, “He probably might’ve been able to play through it. But if something crazy happens and he’s got to go make a play, and and that thing really is injured with the way he started to heat up at the plate, it wasn’t in our best interest.”

 

The Rockies are off Monday, but Tulowitzki will come to Coors Field for treatment, and he’ll possibly test the condition of the leg. From there, the club will determine whether he will miss time or how much he will miss.

 

“It’s the same thing as last year … I mean, it’s not obviously the same thing,” he said. “My leg is obviously a little weaker than the other one. It’s expected a little bit. But at the same time it’s more sore than normal.”

 

While the exact nature of the injury was not known Sunday, the Rockies know they must proceed with caution. Tulowitzki homered and went 2-for-3 Sunday, has had multiple hits in his last three games and is batting .326 (14-for-43) over his last 12 games to improve his batting average from .167 to .237.

 

“I feel real good up there,” he said. “I feel I’ve come a long way. I’ve been telling everybody I get off to a slow start every year and I’ll be OK. No one really wants to listen.

 

“It seems like I was still in a good place. I wasn’t down on myself. I still have a ways to go. I’m not happy with where I’m at. I want to get better each and every day, and I’m always working on things.”

 

 

Losing the numbers game … updates on Corpas, Speier

The Rockies have outscored their opponents this season, 115-113. It’s not a dramatic difference, but one would think it would mean a better record than 9-14. It doesn’t.

One way to address it is to say it’s a fluke that’ll correct itself over time. But manager Clint Hurdle isn’t going that route. He freshly remembered the 2007 D-backs being outscored (732-712) yet winning the National League West.

Not only that, but Hurdle is not relying on the mantra of “it’s early” to explain the team’s issues, which have manifested themselves in an 0-7 record in one-run games and being shut out three times.

“I don’t say it’s early now,” Hurdle said. “I want us to play good baseball and I want us to focus on the things we need to play good baseball, so when they’re not happening we need to address them. And I think you can get away with it for the first couple weeks of the season. Then it’s time to move on, time to play better baseball.”

 

Rockies

Dexter Fowler                CF

Ryan Spilborghs            LF

Todd Helton                  1B

Garrett Atkins               3B

Brad Hawpe                  RF

Troy Tulowtizki              SS

Chris Iannetta                 C

Clint Barmes                 2B

Jorge De La Rosa           P

Padres

David Eckstein             2B

Brian Giles                  RF

Scott Hairston             CF

Adrian Gonzalez          1B

Chase Headley            LF

Kevin Kouzmanoff        3B

Henry Blanco               C

Luis Rodriguez            SS

Kevin Correia                P

– In a non-development, right-hander Manuel Corpas is still on the club. Of course, if he doesn’t pitch better, the possibility of a demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs looms large. Hurdle spoke in an encouraging tone about Corpas on Monday, however.

“He’s worked very hard on making those adjustments,” Hurdle said. “Guys go down and watch him in the bullpen, and you see what you want to see in the bullpen. It’s transferring it into the game, and we’ve had multiple conversations. We’ve coached him up, encouraged him on the value and significance of the role he has now. He’s been there. He’s done it. He can see it from a closer’s mentality.

“We’re at the point now where we’re going to have to find him a game here or there where we’re up or down a little bit where we remove him from the flame a little bit.”

– Righty releiver Ryan Speier said he felt good after throwing a simulated game Monday afternoon. Now it’s a matter of working on his lowered arm slot, which could take a few outings. He plans to go to the extended spring training in Tucson so he can throw without the risk of being hung with negative stats. That could take one, two or three games, then he’d be ready for an injury rehab assignment.

Murton gets a shot … maybe

Recent callup Matt Murton is in the llineup in left field as the Rockies prepare to face the Giants and accomplished lefty Randy Jonhnson at AT&T Park. Well, they hope to play. But it’s raining and cold and nasty here. It’s often cold and nasty in The City by the Bay. Beautiful city, lousy weather.

With Johnson the mound, manager Clint Hurdle gave another day off to right fielder Brad Hawpe, a left-handed hitter. Hawpe was hit in the back of the neck by a thrown ball on Monday, and suffered a contusion that kept him out of the next two games. Hawpe said he would feel good enough to play tonight.

Anyhow, here are the lineups:

Rockies

Dexter Fowler            CF

Matt Murton               LF

Todd Helton               1B

Garrett Atkins            3B

Ryan Spilborghs        RF

Troy Tulowitzki          SS

Chris Iannetta             C

Clint Barmes             2B

Ubaldo Jimenez          P

Giants

Randy Winn              LF

Edgar Renteria          SS

Pablo Sandoval          3B

Bengie Molina             C

Aaron Rowland           CF

Fred Lewis                 LF

Travis Ishikawa           1B

Emmanuel Burriss      2B

Randy Johnson            P

 

No patience with walks

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle has attempted to maintain a consistent and calm demeanor, even though the execution and fundamentals the Rockies emphasized all spring have been lacking. But that patience disappears when relievers can’t throw strikes in the late innings of close games.

Huston Street lost his closer job that way last week at Wrigley Field. Tuesday night, Hurdle unceremoniously yanked righty setup man Jason Grilli when he walked two in the eighth inning of the 9-6 victory over the D-backs.

There would have been cause for Hurdle to try to let Grilli escape. By using lefty Alan Embree to complete the inning, Hurdle left himself with only Manuel Corpas to finish the game. The only other reliever on the squad, Jason Hammel, had thrown two innings the previous game, and Franklin Morales’ injury early in Tuesday’s game meant Hammel was going to move into the starting rotation.

But he was not going to lose a game because Grilli wasn’t throwing strikes.

“We’ve got no time for walks late in ballgames,” Hurdle said. “Nobody. We’re not going to put up with that. If you can’t throw the ball over the plate late in a ballgame, I’ve got to get somebody else. It’s that simple.

“If you want more, and you’ve got an opportunity to do more but you walk two left-handed batters and you’re missing on your arm side six or seven straight pitches, I’ve got to go get you. He knows that.

“You saw the guy two nights ago, then you saw the guy last night. I asked him, ‘Which guy are you?’ That’s part of the challenge that’s in front of him. If you want more, do more.”

Here are the lineups for Wednesday afternoon:

Rockies

Ryan Spilborghs              CF

Jeff Baker                        2B

Todd Helton                     1B

Garrett Atkins                  3B

Brad Hawpe                     RF

Troy Tulowitzki                SS

Chris Iannetta                   C

Seth Smith                      LF

Jorge De La Rosa              P

D-backs

Felipe Lopez                   2B

Stephen Drew                 SS

Conor Jackson                LF

Mark Reynolds               3B

Chad Tracy                    1B

Chris Young                   CF

Eric Byrnes                    RF

Chris Snyder                   C

Dan Haren                      P

Jackie Robinson Day, and the goings on of the Rox

Today is 62nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier. Everyone is wearing No. 42. I know I would if I had a uniform. But let’s all scribble a “42” in our scorecards today.

This also is one of those rare days where something going on miles away is almost as important as the Rockies-Cubs game today. Triple-A Colorado Springs faces Reno in a few minutes — a special 11:05 a.m. MT start time.

Left-hander Franklin Morales, who held the D-backs to one run and struck out six in six innings to win for the Rockes last week, is starting for the Sky Sox. The Rockies sent him down because they don’t need a fifth starter until April 21. But they also didn’t promise they would bring him back, and they traded for Rays right-hander Jason Hammel. The club also said Hammel is a candidate for rotation work. Hammel had bright spots but oerall a so-so debut, giving up two runs with five hits and two walks in a 2 2/3-inning performance against the Phillies.

Anyhow, to keep up with the Sky Sox’s game, click here to go to MiLB.com audio. You can click on the Sky Sox or the Reno Aces’ broadcast. There have been technical difficulties with the Sky Sox’s streaming broadcast, so the Reno feed is an option.

In Chicago, the Rockies are going with left-handed hitters high in the oder, although that’s not a guarantee of success against Cubs righty Rich Harden. Last year, left-handed batters hit .200 against Harden. Righties did worse, .167.

It’s another tough pitcher for the Rockies, who faced a strong Phillies bullpen for the last two games of a three-game set at Coors and were vanquished by the Cubs’ Ted Lilly on Monday.

“This is the part of the game you embrace, the matchups,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “It doesn’t get any easier. There’s never an off-day when you’re playing. We need to show up and continue to do all the things we did in Spring Training and have trust in all those things that we did.”

Also, right fielder Brad Hawpe, who left Monday’s game with tightness in a left hamstring that gave him problems during Spring Training, is not in the lineup. Ian Stewart will make his first career start in right field.

Here are the lineups:

Rockies

Ryan Spilborghs               CF

Seth Smith                      LF

Todd Helton                     1B

Garrett Atkins                  3B

Ian Stewart                      RF

Troy Tulowitzki                SS

Chris Iannetta                   C

Clint Barmes                   2B

Jason Marquis                  P

Cubs

Alfonso Soriano               LF

Ryan Theriot                   SS

Kosuke Fukudome          RF

Derrek Lee                     1B

Mike Fontenot                3B

Reed Johnson                CF

Geovany Soto                  C

Aaron Miles                   2B

Rich Harden                    P

Another starter with history … and Helton sits again

The Rockies lost on Saturday night again to Phillies pitcher Brett Myers, who is 5-0 at Coors Field. Sunday, the Phils turn to another righty who is tough on the Rockies — Chan Ho Park, who is 5-2 in 17 games at Coors Field.

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said Park, who has had some tough times in recent years, regained some of his form last year with the Dodgers (4-4, 3.40 ERA in 54 games, five starts).

“He really sharpened up last year, in that role of pitching one time through the lineup, and now they’re expanding it,” Hurdle said. “He’s gotten to a good place. He’s worked very hard. We know how diligent he is. We know how focused he is.

“He’s going to spin the ball. He’s going to throw the slider. One thing we feel he’s not going to pound us inside. He’ll come in for effect. I don’t think he’s so much a fastball pitcher. He’s a finesse pitcher who pitches off his fastball.”

Also, for the second time this season, the Rockies kept first baseman Todd Helton out of the linmeup for a day game after a night game. Hurdle said he’d do that, so it’s not a surprise. It’s not fun for Helton, who would put himself in the lineup every day, but Hurdle and the Rockies are adhering to a plan to keep Helton healthy throughout the season.

Here are the lineups:

Rockies

Dexter Fowler             CF

Ryan Spilborghs         LF

Brad Hawpe               RF

Garrett Atkins            1B

Ian Stewart                3B

Troy Tulowitzki           SS

Chris Iannetta              C

Clint Barmes             2B     

Aaron Cook                P

Phillies

Jimmy Rollins           SS

Shane Victorino        CF

Chase Utley             2B

Ryan Howard           1B

Jayson Werth          RF

Raul Ibanez             LF

Pedro Feliz             3B

Chris Coste              C

Chan Ho Park           P

 

Final Opening Day thoughts …

Spring Training was devoted to execution, especially offensively, but the Rockies did not come through on two opportunities to execute two plays. In the second inning, Ian Stewart took a called third strike on a Brandon Webb, full-count pitch that he never thought was a strike, and Brad Hawpe was thrown out at second for a double play. In the sixth, Ryan Spilborghs swung through a Billy Buckner pitch and Chris Iannetta was thrown out at second. Spilborghs would fan to end the inning.

Manager Clint Hurdle, reiterating what he said all spring, vowed that the aggressiveness would not stop.

“We have talked long and hard this spring, and we’ve done a very good job at it,” Hurdle said. “Today we just weren’t able to pull a trigger.

“We’ve done very well at it all spring. I anticipate we will.”

Stewart said, “I thought it was a little in, but 3-2, I should’ve been swinging at that.”

So this is as good a time as any to see if the Rockies are serious about the aggressiveness. Many teams set such goals in Spring Training, but after a couple of runners caught stealing you see guys feel they don’t have a jump and shut down their steal attempts. Or you see weak swings that, at best, foul pitches off. Worse than all that, managers give up and play station-to-station baseball.

But two occasions in the third inning, one that worked for the Rockies and one that didn’t, illustrate why aggressive baserunning is the way to go.

On Brad Hawpe’s three-run double, it looked as if the throw to the plate beat Garrett Atkins. However, D-backs catcher Chris Snyder didn’t get a favorable bounce on the throw and had to field the ball too deep behind the plate. Atkins slid feet-first but darted his left hand to the plate beneath the tag.

In the bottom of the inning with Stephen Drew at third, Eric Byrnes hit a fly ball to Spilborghs in center field. Spilborghs had time to set his feet and put momentum behind the throw, but the ball was just off the plate and Drew scored.

– When asked about difficult decisoins, such as starting Stewart instead of Clint Barmes at second base could bruise feelings and made things tough on a manager, Hurdle bristled.

“We’ve weiged that all out,” Hurdle said. “If it’s about their ego, it’s about the wrong thing. If they have any challenges or any questions, come in and we’ll talk about it. I’ll have reasons for the decisions that I make. Whether they agree with them or not, that’s understandable. You want your players to want to play.”

Hurdle then mentioned that each player should be able to look at his teammate and understand the different talents that lead to different decisions. As far as anyone knows, and we may never know, no one challenged Hurdle.

No one went public with disagreement but certainly, the potential for disagreement was there. Barmes had an outstanding Spring Training and was the primary guy all spring. But the players had to be aware of the potential of a left-on-right matchup with Stewart, who has a power swing, against Webb. The matchups dictated such the decision.

Can a player’s desire to play be contrary to a team goal? Must a player supposed to stifle his disagreement with the manager’s decision? How much should emotion be considered, against numbers and matchups?

If baseball were strictly a top-down society, where the boss’ word is law, those questions would have obvious answers. But players hold much more power, because they’re harder to replace, than the average employee. So this is not like a normal workplace, or even like the teams many of the fans played on at the youth, high school and college levels. The players’ unique sets of abilities give them a high level of clout.

So while Hurdle’s quotes to the media about the role ego should not play are well-taken, the key for him is to make sure the players are constantly kept on board with his thinking and reasoning.

 

Not keeping count

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle was asked before Monday’s season-opener what number Opening Day it is for him, counting his playing, coaching and managing career in the Majors.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t counted them up. I’m not gonna.

“Like Frank Sinatra said at his last birthday, all I want is another one.”

Hurdle is in the last year of his contract, so it’s appropriate that all’s well if he gets another Opening Day.

Stewart surprise starter at second

The season doesn’t start for a few hours, and already manager Clint Hurdle has pulled a surprise. Left-handed hitting Ian Stewart will start at second, instead of last year’s regular, Clint Barmes. This is obviously a strategic move, putting another lefty in the lineup against D-backs sinkerballer Brandon Webb.

(A full story will be coming soon on the Web site.)

Stewart played some second last season. He began working at second late in Spring Training.

“I knew it was going to happen at some point this season,” Stewart said. “I had no idea it would be this soon.”

Interestingly, Stewart is batting sixth and Troy Tulowitzki will drop to seventh. Normally, Hurdle intends to bat Tulowitzki sixth. But his Opening Day lineup has lefty hitters in spots 2, 3, 5 and 6, as the Rockies believe it’s a better matchup against the right-handed Webb.

Here’s the lineup:

Ryan Spilborghs    CF

Seth Smith           LF

Todd Helton          1B

Garrett Atkins       3B

Brad Hawpe          RF

Ian Stewart           2B

Troy Tulowitzki      SS

Chris Iannetta        C

Aaron Cook           P

Here’s how the D-backs will addres Rockies sinkerballer Aaron Cook:

 

Felipe Lopez        2B

Chris Young         CF

Stephen Drew      SS

Chad Tracy          3B

Eric Byrnes         RF

Tony Clark           1B

Conor Jackson     LF

Chris Snyder         C

Brandon Webb      P

 

Street is the closer — now comes the real test

The Rockies named Huston Street their closer, instead of Manuel Corpas. That came as somewhat a surprise to me, although not a complete one. Street has pitched with increasing sharpness as the spring has progressed, and he has a greater level of expereince than Corpas.

It’s a huge step for Street, who lost the closer job with the Athletics last season because of a hip flexor strain. He had a quadriceps strain early in camp, and that was repsonsible for some poor performances. But pitching coach Bob Apodaca reassessed Street’s program for preparing for the season, correctly spotted some flaws and put him on the right track.

The surprise for me was the Rockies tend to stay with known quantities. Corpas came up through their organization, and his work as closer was a catalyst in the team’s trip to the 2007 World Series.

I remember writing here some time ago, that the Rockies wanted Corpas to be more aggressive, less “civilized,’ to borrow a term from Apodaca. After seeing the angry look on Corpas’ face as he talked on his cellphone and borded the team bus, they may get their wish.

Somehow, Corpas will have to channel his anger into effective pitching in the eighth inning. Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, the staff and the front office will have to make sure the relationship isn’t strained. They have him signed for four seasons.

So, with 22 of the first 27 regular-season games against National League West foes and the other five against the Phillies and Cubs, Street had better be good and Corpas had better be ready in case he isn’t.

 

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