Results tagged ‘ Garrett Atkins ’

Rehab city

Left-hander Franklin Morales, coming back from a throwing shoulder strain, had as good a first rehab assignment as the Rockies could have expected on Sunday.

Morales went four innings and gave up two runs on five hits, and threw strikes on 48 of his 72 pitches.

“I talked to a lot of people, and he had a tough first inning and got better after that,” Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd said. “He threw 86-94 mph, averaged 91-92. He showed good arm strength, his delivery was better. He’s still a work in progress, but it’s a good first step.”

Rockies manager Jim Tracy said Morales will receive another start, then the Rockies will evaluate him.

Right-hander Matt Daley (sprained left foot) is scheduled to throw an innning in Colorado Springs on Monday night, but rain is threatening that. Tracy said his rehab should be a short one.Catcher Chris Iannetta (strained right hamstrings) is due to join the Colorado Springs club on Tuesday. Tracy said there is a chance Iannetta will rejoin the club in Milwaukee at the end of the current road trip.

Now, for the guys who are here at Minute Maid Park for a three-game series with the Astros. …

Center fielder Dexter Fowler receives a rest, and Ryan Spilborghs leads off and plays center.

Rockies

Ryan Spilborghs, CF

Clint Barmes, 2B

Todd Helton, 1B

Garrett Atkins, 3B

Brad Hawpe, RF

Seth Smith, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Yorvit Torrealba, C

Aaron Cook, P

Astros

Michael Bourn, CF

Miguel Tejada, SS

Hunter Pence, RF

Carlos Lee, LF

Lance Berkman, 1B

Ivan Rodriguez, C

Jeff Keppinger, 3B

Edwin Maysonet, 2B

Roy Oswalt, P

 

Same as it ever was … or not

Nice little fact about the Rockies. Their 18-27 record going into Wednesday afternoon’s game with the Dodgers is the exact same mark as at this point last year. It’s also the same mark they had in 2007.

But this year’s mark is worse than the previous two.

All it takes is a look at the National League West standings. In 2007, they were seven games of the pace. Last year, they were 10 1/2.

This time, they’re 13 games behind the first-place Dodgers.

That’s not saying there’s no hope, but might as well put the figure, and the Rockies’ challenge, into perspective. It’s why the Rockies are facing desperation, why manager Clint Hurdle’s future employment is a subject of local speculation.

Here are Wednesday afternoon’s lineups:

Dodgers

Juan Pierre, LF

Mark Loretta, 3B

Orlando Hudson, 2B

James Loney, 1B

Russell Martin, C

Andre Ethier, RF

Matt Kemp, CF

Juan Castro, SS

Clayton Kershaw, P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler, CF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Matt Murton, LF

Ryan Spilborghs, RF

Clint Barmes, 2B

Paul Phillips, C

Ubaldo Jimenez, P

 

 

Hawpe hurting, out of the lineup

Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe suffered a slight groin injury during Monday’s 16-6 loss to the Dodgers. Manager Clint Hurdle said it occurred before Hawpe’s unsuccessful dive for a Jamie Hoffman line drive, which turned into a seventh-inning double.

Matt Murton, who has hit .376 wth a homer and four RBIs since his callup from Triple-A Colorado Springs, is starting in Hawpe’s place.

But first baseman Todd Helton’s migraine symptoms are not an issue, so he’s back in the lineup.

Here’s are the teams’ batting orders:

Dodgers

Juan Pierre, LF

Orlando Hudson, 2B

Andre Ethier, RF

Casey Blake, 3B

James Loney, 1B

Matt Kemp, CF

Juan Castro, SS

Brad Ausmus, C

Eric Milton, P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler, CF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Ryan Spilborghs, RF

Matt Murton, LF

Garrett Atkins, 3B

Yorvit Torrealba, C

Aaron Cook, P

The Dragonslayer returns

What’s cool about a small-market franchise like the Rockies having success, as they did in 2007, is guys that are considered journeymen can attain immortal status. Infielder Jamey Carroll, now with the Indians, is one. Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba has not had the same playing time he did back then, but his home run to send the Rockies to the World Series will never be forgotten.

Right-handed pitcher Josh Fogg also enjoys a status here that will never die. In 2007, he displayed a penchant for pitching the Rockies to wins when they faced big-name pitcher. Suddenly, folks started calling him The Dragonslayer.

Fogg parlayed his success in Denver into a free-agent contract with the Reds last season. The dragons caught up with him in Cincinnati. Actually, they were the dragons from within. His throwing motion becamre so out of whack that he experienced no success with the Reds, and all he could land was a Minor League deal with the Rockies for 2009. It took until now for Fogg to correct what went wrong.

Now he’s back. The Rockies jettisoned righty Matt Belisle and brought back Fogg for the long relief role. There may be some spot-starts for him, but his role will be out of the bullpen.

It’s a challenge. The sporadic work in the bullpen with the Reds helped lead to the complete destruction of his mechanics. But it’s an opportunity.

He’ll never lose his Dragonslayer status. But that was then. He’ll have to show he can handle his new role to attract greater appreciation.

Fogg’s return in a Rockies uniform — he’ll wear 51 instead of 37, which belongs to Ryan Speier — could be Monday against the Dodgers. But rain falls as this is being written. So if there is baseball, here are the lineups:

Dodgers

Juan Pierre, CF

Russell Martin, C

Orlando Hudson, 2B

Casey Blake, 3B

Matt Kemp, CF

James Loney, 1B

Jamie Hoffman, RF

Juan Castro, SS

Eric Stultz, P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler, CF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Ryan Spilborghs, LF

Brad Hawpe, RF

Garrett Atkins, 3B

Clint Barmes, 2B

Yorvit Torrealba, C

Jorge De La Rosa, P

Helton takes a rest on the edge of 2,000

Rockies first baseman Todd Helton had started all but three of the team’s first 35 games this season. So he took a well-deserve rest on Sunday.

Helton is presumably available for pinch-hit and defensive duty, so there’s a chance he’ll get the one hit he needs to each 2,000 for his career. But manager Clint Hurdle kept him out of the starting lineup.

Hurdle, Helton and the training staff stay in constant contact about how Helton feels, since he underwent back surgery at the end of last season. After a long streak in the lineup, Helton felt the need to step back on Sunday.

“You need to give him some breaks, and this is one he is embracing, because he has been full-throttle for a large volume of games,” Hurdle said.

Hurdle took his three games off during the early days of the season. But given the caution the team is taking, no one expected Helton to have played so much at this point.

“I’d say pleasantly surprised, but I hate to use the word surprised when it comes to Todd because he’s capable of so much with his mindset, his determination, his resiliency,” Hurdle said. “He’s playing more than I anticipated him being able to play and he’s playing at a high level.”

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is batting third for the first time in his career, Garrett Atkins, after a hard work day Saturday to improve his hitting, is playing first base, and Dexter Fowler, who is having strikeout issues from the right side, is on the bench.

Rockies

CF Ryan Spilborghs

2B Clint Barmes

SS Troy Tulowitzki

RF Brad Hawpe

LF Matt Murton

1B Garrett Atkins

C Yorvit Torrealba

3B Ian Stewart

P Ubaldo Jimenez

Pirates

RF Delwyn Young

2B Freddy Sanchez

CF Nate McLouth

1B Adam LaRoche

C Robinzon Diaz

LF Brandon Moss

3B Andy LaRoche

SS Jack Wilson

P Zach Duke

Atkins becomes spot player

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle insisted that he’s not going to bury third baseman Garrett Atkins. But Saturday’s decision to start Ian Stewart at third base, on the heels of Stewart’s pinch-hitting for Atkins in the ninth inning Friday night, is a signal that Atkins’ playing time will be cut as he tries to work through a season-long slump.

“I’ve tried to find different ways to catch a fuse for him, and yesterday it was putting him in the cleanup spot based on a matchup and faith,” Hurdle said. “I had a nice conversation with him today, a very engaging and challenging conversation about what we’re going to do together, what we need to do for him, what he needs to do for himself to get him back in a spot in the lineup we’d like to have him in.

“But right now we’ve got to go out there the best way we can to win a ballgame. He understands that. I told him I’m not going to ice him, but I’m going to get him involved when I think it’s the right fit.”

This is a personal project for Hurdle, because the Rockies’ hitting coach, Don Baylor, is not with the club. According to Jack Etkin of insidetherockies.com, Baylor is being treated for pneumonia at a Denver-area hospital. 

Hurdle said the Rockies have tried everything, including the old, forget everything and just hit, approach. That didn’t work, so Hurdle is offering specific moves to help Atkins regain form and confidence.

Here are Saturday night’s lineups:

Rockies

Dexter Fowler                CF

Troy Tulowitzki               SS

Todd Helton                   1B

Brad Hawpe                   RF

Ryan Spilborghs             LF

Ian Stewart                    3B

Chris Iannetta                 C

Clint Barmes                 2B

Aaron Cook                    P

Pirates

Delwyn Young                RF

Freddy Sanchez             2B

Nate McLouth                CF

Adam LaRoche              1B

Brandon Moss                LF

Andy LaRoche                3B

Jason Jarmillo                  C

Jack Wilso                     SS

Ian Snell                          P

Go Pens! … Nothing wrong with Barmes

As I write, the Penguins are up on the Capitals, 4-0, in the second period of Game 7. How cool.

Good comment on yesterday’s blog: infielder Clint Barmes has been notably absent from the starting lineup, and he isn’t starting tonight, either. It would make some sense to have him at second as another left-handed bat against Astros lefty Mike Hampton. Plus, Barmes hasn’t been in the lineup since Friday, when he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against the Marlins.

Checked with Barmes today. He’s not injured and says he’s ready to play when needed.

A few factors keep Barmes out of the lineup:

– The Rockies are giving third baseman Garrett Atkins more time to overcome his almost season-long hitting slump. Manager Clint Hurdle said he gives a younger player abotu 100 at-bats and a player of Atkins’ experience about 150 at-bats to find his form.

– Stewart hit two home runs last night agianst the Astros. He also has a history of hitting lefties well.

“I want to see him against this left-hander, Mike [Hampton],” Hurdle said. “We know him a little bit, not that ‘Stew’ does. Just watching tape and historically, Mike gets outs. There’s no doubt he can get people out. His walks-to-strikeouts ratio is better against left-handers but the batting average is pretty similar, .284 to .281.

“‘Stew’ still has a pretty good history of hitting left-handed pitching. [Thursday starter Wandy] Rodriguez could present more of a challenge. He’s just off to a tremendous start this year, overall and especially against left-handed hitters. And I want to play off the momentum he was able to create and bring to the table yesterday.”

Here are both lineups:

Astros

Kazuo Matsui            2B

Michael Bourn           CF

Lance Berkman         1B

Carlos Lee                 LF

Miguel Tejada            SS

Hunter Pence            RF

Geoff Blum                3B

Humberto Quintero      C

Mike Hampton            P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler           CF

Troy Tulowitzki         SS

Todd Helton              1B

Ryan Spilborghs        LF

Brad Hawpe              RF

Garrett Atkins           3B

Chris Iannetta             C

Ian Stewart                2B

Jason Marquis             P

No hot seat, but still …

I’ve been asked on a number of radio shows recently about the jobsecurity of Rockies manager Clint Hurdle. It’s logical. After all, the D-backs fired Bob Melvin, and that team had a slightly better record than the Rockies. I said all along that it’s not the Rockies’ style to make such a quick change. None of my sources have said anything different. If there was heat, it was from the outside. A story in the Denver Post today confirms; ownership isn’t looking to make the big change.

Anyhow, here’s the issue: they’ve got to score to win. The Rockies’ pitching was supposed to be weak, yet the staff leads the National league with a 2.81 ERA in May. Their May record is 4-6 going into Tuesday night’s game against the Astros at Coors Field.

hHit and everyone stays employed. Or at least that’s the way it seems to me.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will do his part tonight. The pain from the quadriceps strain he suffered Sunday is manageable, so he’s in the lineup. 

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Astros

Kazuo Matsui                   2B

Michael Bourn                  CF

Lance Berkman                1B

Carlos Lee                        LF

Miguel Tejada                   SS

Hunter Pence                   RF

Geoff Blum                       3B

Ivan Rodriguez                   C

Felipe Paulino                   P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler                  CF

Troy Tulowitzki                SS

Todd Helton                    1B

Brad Hawpe                    RF

Garrett Atkins                 3B

Seth Smith                     LF

Chris Iannetta                   C

Ian Stewart                     3B

Ubaldo Jimenez                P

Smith steps to the top

The Rockies’ lineup is much like the field in an automobile race. It seems one or two need to pull in for a pit stop to correct some problem with his offensive game. Friday night it’s center fielder Dexter Fowler. Also, the repairs for third baseman Garrett Atkins are going to take another day. He sat also on Thursday.

Fowler has not stolen a base since his modern rookie record five-steal game on April 27. He has scored just two runs and struck out 14 times in his last nine games.

Left fielder Seth Smith becomes the first player other than Fowler or Ryan Spilborghs to bat leadoff. Smith is second on the club with 13 walks. Smith and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will bat ahead of Todd Helton (17 RBIs), Ryan Spilboghs (14 RBIs) and Brad Hawpe (18 RBIs).

“You’ve got the run producers at 3, 4 and 5, so I’m looking at somebody else to lead off who can get on base,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “If you look at the on-base percentages (.426), his is as good as anybody we’ve got on the club.”

Here are the lineups:

Marlins

Emilio Bonafacio           3B

Chris Coghlan               2B

Hanley Ramirez            SS

Jorge Cantu                  1B

John Baker                     C

Cody Ross                   RF

Jeremy Hermida           LF

Alfredo Amezaga          CF

Ricky Nolasco               P

Rockies

Seth Smith                  LF

Troy Tulowitzki             SS

Todd Helton                 1B

Ryan Spilborghs          CF

Brad Hawpe                 RF

Chris Iannetta                C

Ian Stewart                  3B

Clint Barmes               2B

Jason Hammel             P

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.

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