Results tagged ‘ D-Backs ’

Hitting coach wants better mechanics from Fowler

Rockies hitting coach Carney Lansford heard that center fielder Dexter Fowler visiting Las Vegas with Jason Giambi, Troy Tulowitzki and others for offseason workouts. He saw a stronger Fowler arrive at Spring Training.

Now he is looking at Fowler’s .114 batting average through his first 14 Cactus League games and wondering if there is a connection.

“He lifted a lot this offseason, got a lot stronger, so he’s trying to hit the ball farther, which is a huge mistake for him,” Lansford said Tuesday morning. “I don’t mind him lifting. I just don’t want him changing mechanics from what he did the second half of last season.”

Fowler added a leg kick to his swing in the middle of last season, during a demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs. He returned with improved timing and put up strong second half numbers. But Lansford and manager Jim Tracy have noticed that the kick wasn’t the same. Corrections are being made in hopes of avoiding a slow start, something Fowler has suffered through the last two years.

“He was picking [his foot] up too far, and his hands were not in the right spot, either,” Lansford said. “He’s going back to where he feels comfortable with his hands. He’s actually starting to swing the bat better. We’ve got nine days left. It would be the perfect time to get right, going into the season.

Fowler had another rough day at the plate Monday against the Angels, but Tracy said his swing was bettr and he hasn’t carried his offensive struggles to the field.

Usually the leadoff hitter, or No. 2 hitter on days Tracy experiements with Marco Scutaro in the top spot, Fowler hit eighth Tuesday afternoon against the D-backs. Eric Young Jr. batted leadoff and started in left. Jonathan Herrera, fighting the numbers game for an Opening Day roster spot, is hitting second and Scutaro is batting third.

ROCKIES LINEUP

Eric Young Jr., LF

Jonathan Herrera, SS

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Ramon Hernandez, C

Todd Helton, 1B

Jordan Pacheco, 3B

Tyler Colvin, RF

Dexter Fowler, CF

Jeremy Guthrie, RHP

ROCKIES RELIEF PITCHING

Rex Brothers, LHP

Josh Roenicke, RHP

Rafael Betancourt, RHP

Keith Weiser, LHP

Zach Simons, RHP

D-BACKS LINEUP

Gerardo Parra, LF

Aaron Hill, 2B

Justin Upton, RF

Lyle Overbay, 1B

Ryan Roberts, 2B

Henry Blanco, C

John McDonald, SS

Patrick Corbin, LHP

D-BACKS RELIEF PITCHING

Craig Breslow, LHP

Joe Paterson, RHP

Bryan Shaw, RHP

Mike Zagurski, LHP

Brad Ziegler, RHP

Also, the Rockies are using right-handed pitcher Guillermo Moscoso in a Minor League game.

Rockies’ Moyer hopes for better results; Fowler and Scutaro flip-flop

Pain in his left leg forced the Rockeis to scratch 49-year-old veteran Jamie Moyer from his last scheduled Cactus League start. His work Monday in a Minor League game — two home runs, six of 10 batters reaching in 1 1/3 innings — left much to be desired, although there was some positive.

“It was a good day — feelings-wise,” Moyer said. “Results-wise, they weren’t good.”

Moyer hopes to feel good and have a positive outcome tonight, when the Rockies and Giants meet at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

After his last game, Moyer insisted he was healthy and manager Jim Tracy said that was all that really mattered. Now Moyer is hoping to take the next step.

In successful early Cactus League work, Moyer used his fastball, curve and changeup. But he hadn’t begun to work his cut fastball, since he felt he could build arm strength that way. Now he plans to increase his use of that pitch.

In a lineup twist, second baseman Marco Scutaro will lead off and center fielder Dexter Fowler will hit second, in a flip-flop. Both have been searching for their swings this spring.

Here is the Rockies’ lineup for tonight:

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Casey Blake, 3B

Wilin Rosario, C

Jamie Moyer, LHP

– Tim Lincecum was listed as the Giants’ pitcher for tonight, but he threw in a Minor League game during the afternoon.

– In other action, right-hander Jeremy Guthrie will pitch against a D-backs Triple-A squad tonight at Salt River Fields.

– In an earlier blog today, I listed the candidates for the back of the Rockies’ rotation and managed to leave out right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who very well could be the guy. It’s Spring Training for the writers, too.

Chacin leads Rockies against Royals

Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin’s spring devoted to fastball command continues today as he starts for the Rockies, and most likely goes three innings, against the Royals at Surprise Stadium. Also, fast-working lefty Christian Friedrich will appear, on the heels of his two scoreless innings with one hit and two strikeouts against the D-backs five days ago. Friedrich entered camp as a darkhorse candidate for the starting rotation, and has been impressive.

Center fielder Dexter Fowler is the only clear starter in the lineup, but the game is a big one because several players seeking key reserve roles made the trip.

Rockies batting order

Eric Young Jr., LF

Dexter Fowler, CF

Charlie Blackmon, RF

Brandon Wood, SS

Nolan Arenado, 3B

Chad Tracy, 1B

Chris Nelson, 2B

Brendan Harris, DH

Wil Nieves, C

Rockies pitchers

Jhoulys Chacin, RHP

Christian Friedrich, LHP

Rex Brothers, LHP

Matt Belisle, RHP

Joe Gardner, RHP

Dustin Molleken, RHP

Stephen Dodson, RHP

Royals batting order

Alex Gordon, LF

Johnny Giavotella, 2B

Eric Hosmer, 1B

Billy Butler, DH

Mike Moustakas, 3B

Jeff Francoeur, RF

Lorenzo Cain, CF

Alcides Escobar, SS

Royals pitchers

Luis Mendoza, RHP

Joakim Soria, RHP

Sean O’Sullivan, RHP

Tim Collins, LHP

Noel Arguelles, LHP

Keeping it simple for Chacin, who debuts today

Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin’s 2011 season started in glowing fashion, when he held opposing batters to a .201 batting average before the All-Star break. By the end, everything seemed complicated. The Rockies dealt former ace pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez at the trading deadline, and it wasn’t simply enough to pitch. While never asked by his club, there was an implied requirement that he become an “ace,” not just a strong pitcher but a leader and face of the pitching staff.

Manager Jim Tracy’s goal going into 2012 is to make sure Chacin focuses on one simple task that makes everything else possible — repeat his delivery. Repeating the delivery allows him to spot his fastball, which makes his tremendous secondary pitches useful.

The Rockies’ signing of 49-year-old Jamie Moyer, who has a quarter-century on Chacin, and the trade with the Orioles for in-his-prime starter Jeremy Guthrie pretty much takes any leadership burden off Chacin’s shoulders. General manager Dan O’Dowd questioned Chacin’s conditioning before camp began, but Tracy

So Chacin makes his Cactus League debut today against the D-backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, and Tracy is telling him to keep it simple.

“I did have a conversation with him in this office,” Tracy said. “It goes back to taking this opportunity in Spring Training to work on his delivery and repeating it, not getting into jerking and stuff like that, where his fastball starts to run away from him. He’s working on pounding his fastball for strikes.

“I personally feel, and you’ve heard me talk about this a lot last year, that if there’s one guy in this camp who can do what we saw last year with an Ian Kennedy [with the D-backs], a guy that is capable of taking a quantum leap, to me it’s Jhoulys Chacin, with much-improved fastball command.”

Here is the Rockies’ lineup, updated with Troy Tulowitzki being scratched because of illness:

Eric Young Jr., CF

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Jason Giambi, DH

Jordan Pacheco, C

Charlie Blackmon, RF

Nolan Arenado, 3B

Chad Tracy, 1B

Jonathan Herrera, SS

A former Rockies top Draft pick, lefty Christian Friedrich, is scheduled to pitch after Chacin. Friedrich, taken 25th overall in 2008, struggled to 6-10 with a 5.00 ERA in 25 starts at Double-A Tulsa last year. But injuries affected his 2010 season and his preparation for 2011. This past winter, he spent time working out with the Phillies’ Cliff Lee, and the Rockies have placed his Spring Training locker beside that of Moyer. Friedrich is in better physical shape, and said the veterans have offered him a high level of information.

Veteran reliever Matt Belisle also is scheduled to throw.

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.

Opportunity awaits Gonzalez

Rockies outfielders Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez sit atop prop prospect lists. This year, Fowler generally occupies a higher rung than Gonzalez, partly because Gonzales had a much more meaningful run in the Majors last season. The Athletics used Gonzalez regularly for part of last season. Fowler received merely a few September at-bats.

But when it comes to making the Rockies’ roster out of Spring Training, experience is a benefit, not a curse.

Fowler is widely assumed to be headed to Triple-A Colorado Springs to begin the season. Gonzalez has an option left, and the Rockies have already declared their three outfielders atop the depth chart — Seth Smith in left, Ryan Spilborghs in center and Brad Hawpe in right. But manager Clint Hurdle is entering the season wanting to give Gonzalez every opportunity to impress him this spring.

“There won’t be a nurturing, coddling, holding his hand through it, like a Rule 5 guy you might go get and try and protect through the season,” Hurdle said. “He’s got some experience. He needs to play. There’s got to be reps. There’s got to be at-bats available.

“There’s that fine line, whether it’s 400 Minor League at-bats versus 300 [in the Majors]. I don’t know. If the numbers are workable, he can add a significant value to our club, whether it be playing a couple of outfield positions as a left-handed bat with some speed.”

Translated, the Rockies feel they’ll be at their best if Gonzalez is pushing Smith and Spilborghs for their starting jobs.

Right-handed hitting Matt Murton and left-handed hitters Daniel Ortmeier and Scott Podsednik are in the mix for backup outfield jobs, as well. Third baseman Ian Stewart will get a look in left field, utility man Jeff Baker has some experience in the outfield, and second baseman Clint Barmes is capable of going to the outfield. Hurdle sees him as only an emergency outfielder, but he said some in the organization believe Barmes could handle extended duty out there.

– As part of the execution emphasis, the Rockies are rating every hitting drill and posting the scores. There are 10 rounds based on hitting tasks — various bunts, driving in a runner from third, hit-and-run. Each exercise is given assigned a maximum point total. A score of 38 through nine rounds is considered perfect, then three is a bonus base-hit round. Sunday, for example, Gonzalez, shotstop Troy Tulowitzki and catcher Edwin Bellorin had the highest individual scores. Also, the team is divided into three groups, and the total number of points for each group is kept. Players are crowding in front of the whiteboard in the clubhosue to see their scores.

– The Rockies are planning an intrasquad game on Tuesday morning. They open their Cactus League schedule Wednesday at Hi Corbett Field against the D-backs.

– The early part of Sunday’s workout was devoted to a spirited “ragball” tournament. They used a machine to shoot beanbag-like balls at a pitcher completing a windup. Right-handed prospect Jhoulys Chacin won his group. Video coordinator Brian Jones won the contest involving staff members.

Manager Clint Hurdle had injury concerns, but signed off on the exercise in the name of team cohesiveness.

“There have been a number of things the guys have had a lot of fun with,” Hurdle said. “That might be at the top of the list right now.

– Left-handed veteran reliever Alan Embree left camp after Saturday’s workout to take care of a personal matter, and will be back in “a couple of days,” Hurdle said Sunday.

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