Results tagged ‘ Franklin Morales ’

Corpas teeters, Morales thrives in back-to-back

One of the priorities of the final weeks of Spring Training is to work the relief pitchers on a regular season-like schedule, meaning asking them to work on consecutive days.

Right-hander Manuel Corpas pitched a clean inning Monday, with three straight groundball outs against the Cubs. On Tuesday against the White Sox, Corpas didn’t crumble but his inconsistency continued.

Corpas hit leadoff man Carlos Quentin with a 1-2 pitch. An error on second baseman Eric Young Jr. didn’t help. Corpas gave up a two-strike single to Alejandro De Aza to load the bases. Rockies left fielder Ryan Spilborghs bailed him out by grabbing a Mark Kotsay fly ball and cutting down a runner at the plate.

Corpas kept the inning scoreless by forcing Alexi Ramirez to ground to third, but manager Jim Tracy wanted more sharpness on a more regular basis.

“We saw him real good yesterday because the ball was back down there [low in the strike zone] where it belongs,” Corpas said. “Today, when the ball was down there where it belonged, Manny Corpas was successful.

“However, what we also have to realize is we look along the lines of a guy like this toward the back end of the game, you don’t have a great room for error. These are things that in late-inning situations, you want to know that is a rarity.”

Tracy said Corpas’ history of success works in his favor.

Morales struck out one during a perfect inning against the Cubs on Tuesday. he piched around a single in a scoreless inning on Tuesday against the White Sox.

“Frankie had some explosive fastballs today, and Frankie threw a couple of really good breaking balls — sharp, tight breaking balls,” Tracy said.

Infielder Omar Quintanilla fouled a pitch off his right foot and left the game with a knee injury after a collision at second base. Tracy said the Rockies will observe him Wednesday morning.

Right-hander Huston Street, hoping to appear in his first game after battling shoulder tightness, said he is ready for action this week. Tracy said he has not decided whether he’ll appear Wednesday or Thursday. Righty reliever Rafael Betancourt will throw a live batting practice session as his next step toward being ready for game action. Betancourt also suffered shoulder tightness early in camp.

 

Rough day for Morales

The elbow injury to right-hander Greg Reynolds, who was hit by a line drive a few days ago and is waiting for swelling to subside before pitching, touched off a chain reaction that led to left-handed reliever Franklin Morales starting agianst the D-backs on Sunday at Tucson Electric Park. It didn’t work out for Morales and the Rockies.

Morales gave up eight earned runs on seven hits, including home runs by Rusty Ryal and Stephen Drew, in 1 2/3 innings. He also walked two and balked once before leaving with an 8-0 deficit.

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.

 

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. 

 

Matt Belisle: Rag ball king

Rockies manager Jim Tracy presents Matt Belisle as Rag Ball King.jpgAs early as tee ball, coaches learn quickly that it’s a lot easier to teach when the drills are fun. It’s no different teaching the children-at-heart in the Majors.

So the Rockies have this drill to help pitchers develop their fielding that they call “rag ball smash.” A coach hits one-hoppers or line drives hard at a pitcher from close range. To keep from filling the disabled list, soft-cover balls are used.

Each day, they keep score, talk trash and generally laugh as they work. But manager Jim Tracy pointed out recently that a number of big fielding plays by pitchers last season were attributable to the reactions developed in the drill.

“You see a ball coming off the bat like that and you have to react to it,” Tracy said. “Obviously, it’s not a hard ball. But how many of those in-between-type comebackers have you seen where a guy flinches.

“How many two-out, man-on-second-base groundball base hits through the middle did we save last year? How many of those cases could have been a game-changing hit?”

Tracy brought the drill to the Rockies last season, when he helped organize Spring Training as bench coach under then-manager Clint Hurdle. Just before games began, he organized a tournament that right-handed prospect Jhoulys Chacin won. The team also includes clubhouse staff in the event. It’s a rollicking good time.

It was a great time for righty reliever Matt Belisle, who won this year’s championship — and took home the purple robe with $20 bills totaling $200 pinned to it — by catching 15 smashes in a row in the final. Lefty reliever Franklin Morales finished second by catching 13.

Belisle was all smiles.

“I think we have made it fun, and all the guys pretty much agree it does help,” Belisle said. “The genius is to incorporate some competition. That’s where we all come together and enjoy it.”

It would have been nice for Belisle to have been able to wear the championship robe to, say, dinner in Tucson. But after seeing him don it on the field, someone decided that it wouldn’t have been a good fashion statement for him to wear it anywhere else.

“I don’t know where my robe is,” he said. “That’s a good question.

“But I got the money, and I’m going to go find the robe.”

Matt Capps a possible target

An interesting bullpen target has emerged for the Rockies — former Pirates closer Matt Capps. Rockies manager Jim Tracy helped mold Capps into a closer.

Capps’ agent said there is “mutual interest” between the Rockies and Capps, but about nine teams are interested.

Capps is available because the Pirates non-tendered him in a surprise move on Saturday night. The move was contract-driven, The Pirates didn’t want to risk losing an arbitration case and paying a high dollar figure. But Capps didn’t show the fastball command he showed in past seasons.

However, Capps didn’t lose any velocity, so the belief is he is capable of regaining past effectiveness. With the Rockies already set with Huston Street as closer and having some good arms in setup roles — Rafael Betancourt, Manuel Corpas and Franklin Morales — Capps would not be under ninth-inning pressure.

It could be a good fit. However, dollars will be a huge factor. Other teams have roles later in the game, and could outbid the Rockies.

Street set to pitch … if something goes wrong

This is the day that right-handed reliever Huston Street is supposed to return to action, but manager Jim Tracy said there’s a good chance it won’t happen.

Tracy doesn’t want Street’s first action to be in a close game. But with the Rockies starting righty Ubaldo Jimenez and the D-backs going with Dan Haren, it’s likely to be a cloe, low-scoring game.

“I’d like to see the game be somewhat one-sided, one way or the other to try this out,” Tracy said.

Tracy added that Street didn’t look bad in Friday afternoon’s simulated game, but he was not as sharp as he would need to be in a close game. How long will it take for him to regain the sharpness? Tracy said it may take as litle as one game.

But once Street is determined ready, expect him to be moved back into the closer role, with lefty Franklin Morales becoming a key setup man.

One question for Sunday was the availability of righty setup man Rafael Betancourt, who was dealing with soreness in his right calf. Tracy said he was relieved the problem wasn’t with hit right groin. While with the Indians, before being traded to the Rockies in July, Betancourt missed six weeks with a groin strain.

Street throws smoothly, should return Sunday

Rockies reliever Huston Street’s simulated game at Chase Field on Friday went well, and he expects to be available for Sunday’s finale of the three-game set with the D-backs.

“I threw betweern 25 and 27 pitches, plus another 22 in the bullpen before — it was like a game, but a really long inning,” Street said. “It was basically the longest inning I’ve thrown in a long time, which was good. My stuff was there. The ball was coming out nicely. It was definitely a good thing.”

The Rockies are expected to return Street to the closer role but not until letting him re-acclimate himself to game action. Expect left-hander Franklin Morales to handle save situations until that time.

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.

Final seps for Iannetta

Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta is scheduled to catch nine innings Saturday night and Sunday for Triple-A Colorado Springs as he wraps up a rehab assignment for a strained right hamstring strain. If all goes well, he could be rejoin the Rockies on Tuesday in Milwaukee, Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

Going into Saturday, Iannetta was 3-for-7 with a home run and three RBIs through two games of his rehab assignment.

Also, left-hander Franklin Morales (shoulder strain) started Friday for the Sky Sox and threw 78 pitches in 3 1/3 innings, giving up one earned run on two hits, with three walks and five strikeouts. Tracy said Morales will have a 100-pitch limit in his next start, then the team would discuss whether to activate him.

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