Results tagged ‘ Ian Stewart ’

Stewart not in lineup for opener

Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart was healthy enough to be on the roster for Friday afternoon’s opener against the D-backs, but not healthy enough to start.

Ty Wigginton, signed as a free agent during the offseason, gets the start at third, and Jose Lopez, acquired in a trade with the Mariners, will start at second.

There had been talk of infield utility man Jonathan Herrera, who had an outstanding spring, (.371, four triples) getting the nod, possibly ahead of Lopez, but that was not to be. Herrera will be a versatile hitter off the bench.

Here’s the lineup:

Dexter Fowler, CF

Seth Smith, RF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Ty Wigginton, 3B

Jose Lopez, 2B

Chris Iannetta, C

Ubaldo Jimenez, P

Lance Berkman a possible Rox target

Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd has said it’s doubtful he can land a big bat, but he’s trying. According to The Denver Post, the Rockies have aggressively pursued switch-hitting Lance Berkman to play the outfield corners and occasionally spell Todd Helton at first base.

The key here would be Berkman’s desire to return to the National League. Berkman saw a dramatic drop in his power with the Astros and Yankees last season, although finished he year with the Yankees as a designated hitter on an upswing as far as average is concerned.

An important aspect of the pursuit of Berkman, according to the Post, is Helton would be on board with bringing in Berkman. The two have the same agent. Helton helped the Rockies recruit Jason Giambi as his backup last season, but by season’s end Helton admitted not playing nearly every game was difficult. Still, the Rockies need a solid alternative, given Helton’s history of back problems and his age.

The Rockies desire a right-handed corner bat, preferably one that can play some first base. Berkman has more power from the left than from the right, but he fits — if the price is right. The Cardinals, Blue Jays and Athletics also have pursued Berkman.

The Mariners’ Jose Lopez, if he’s non-tendered, Jorge Cantu, whom the Rockies considered trading for last season, and Troy Glaus are acknowledged targets. The Rockies also are looking at the Athletics, who appear to be deciding whether to non-tender Edwin Encarnacion or Colorado native Kevin Kouzmanoff.

Some current Rockies will no doubt be watching the situation closely. Third baseman Ian Stewart and outfielders Seth Smith and Ryan Spilborghs could potentially lose playing time, depending on who is signed. Interestingly, the Rockies hired Carney Lansford as hitting coach and charged him with the task of waking up the bats of all three. Stewart and Smith didn’t meet the club’s expectations for production last year. Spilborghs finished strong but struggled with strikeouts early.

– Thomas Harding

A good stopping point …

– Saturday’s no-hitter by Ubaldo Jimenez against the Braves was the obvious high point, but Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Braves is a better illustration of where the Rockies stand. They didn’t do enough to win. Sometimes when this happens, they win, anyhow. Sunday, they didn’t.

Five hits from an offense that has been sporadic and 11 walks from pitching that has generally performed well were a recipe for disaster. Yet, the Rockies didn’t give the game away until closer Franklin Morales couldn’t throw strikes consistently in the ninth inning.

Sometimes things go wrong and they win. Sunday, many things went wrong and they almost won. Manager Jim Tracy has been noting all weekend that he ability to stay in or pull out games while not necessarily playing well is encouraging, since it means the club is capable of catching fire.

– The power and situational hitting have come and gone. The team hasn’t been consistently effective on the bases. Errors defensively have been a concern. Which area will begin to perform better first?

I believe the defense has become better. And defense is the one area that can turn hot and not cool. The Rockies made all the plays necessary behind Jimenez during the no-hitter, and performed well Sunday. Not making mistakes makes a team solid, and the Rockies are headed in that direction. The difference between solid and spectacular is taking advantage of chances the be spectacular, the way Dexter Fowler made plays behind Jimenez and the way Carlos Gonzalez did Sunday in throwing out Melky Cabrera at the plate from right field.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has made some highlight reel plays, but in other cases he’s almost made them. That should change. I also believe third baseman Ian Stewart, who has had some questionable throws, needs one or two eye-popping plays to settle him and make him more consistently.

– It may be too soon but I don’t think I’m out of line for wondering … How would the lineup perform with Stewart, a power threat, in the No. 3 position, and first Todd Helton in the No. 7 hole?

– I like the way right fielder Brad Hawpe has swung the bat. I also like the way the team is monitoring his playing time. For me, it comes to this unscientific explanation: Hawpe is a big, strong fellow whose body type may be more suited for first base than the outfield. His recent quadriceps injury occurred after a swing, but the place to watch him is in the outfield, especially when he has a lot of activity. Nagging aches are unavoidable, but keep them under control and he’ll produce from April to September. This is an underrated star. 

– Although Morales has had a rough patch, I like he way the bullpen has performed. It it can maintain some consistency, imagine how much stronger it should be when right-handers Huston Street and Taylor Buchholz return.

– The rotation has been solid. Three keys could take it beyond that. 1. Jason Hammel must find some consistency. It’s early, so it’s not time to panic. 2. Greg Smith has shown a capacity to make the pitch he needs to keep situations from becoming messy, but he’ll be better if he can throw well-located strikes early in counts. 3. Aaron Cook hasn’t found his sinker. I was left intrigued by his last outing, when he relied on breaking balls and gave the team a chance to win against the Mets. Will he reach a stage where he’ll dominate with the sinker for a number of outings in a row, or will a good percentage of his outings be ones where he has to be creative?

Hey, folks, these are more Monday morning thoughts, not super observations. Where do you think the Rockies are, and how can they be better?

Stewart displays Rockies’ heady hitting

Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart knocked his first spring home run, a shot to right field off Rangers starter Matt Harrison that nearly left Surprise Stadium, in Monday’s 7-6 loss to the Rangers.

 

But a quieter RBI — a sixth-inning single through the left side of the infield to score Miguel Olivo from second — impressed manager Jim Tracy every bit as much.

 

Olivo alertly took second on a pitch in the dirt. Stewart changed his game plan, realizing that going with a pitch the other way could change the scoreboard.

 

“That was a tremendous piece of hitting, an at-bat that you wouldn’t have seen him take last year, being in pull mode as much as he was,” Tracy said.

 

It was an example of the situational hitting Tracy has called upon this spring.

 

“I don’t think our hitting approach has actually changed,” Tracy said. “The sensibility of taking advantage of every opportunity to take runs, that’s what’s changed.”

 

 

Helton: King of the scoopers

The Rockies’ strategy for pitching is based on attacking the strike zone with the fastball. The theory is the defense is so dependable, the only plays that can’t be stopped are the walk and the home run.

Third baseman Ian Stewart, shortstoop Troy Tulowitzki and second baseman Clint Barmes are bigger than average and tranaslate size into range. But one of the unsung advantages is they don’t have to be perfect with their throws because of first baseman Todd Helton’s ability to handle low throws.

I remember mentioning this last year, but here is the final 2009 stat from ACTA Sports:

Player                                  Scoops              Attempts    Pct.

Todd Helton, Col.                      183                    207          88.4

Adam La Roche, Pit.-Bos.-Atl.   182                    210          86.7

Albert Pujols, St.L.                    187                   217           86.2

Paul Konerko, CWS                  197                    231          85.3

Derrek Lee, ChC                       145                    171          84.8

Lance Berkman, Hou.                170                   201           84.6

Lyle Overbay, Tor                       211                   250          84.4

Casey Kotchman, Atl.-Bos.        134                   159           84.3    

Beimel en route; here’s the lineup

Left-hander Joe Beimel, who reached a Minor League agreement with the club yesterday to join a competitive bullpen association, is scheduled to arrive in Tucson later this morning.

In the meantime, manager Jim Tracy has posted a lineup that, save for the pitcher, looks like something you’d see on Opening Day.

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Dexter Fowler, CF

Todd Helton, 1B

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Brad Hawpe, RF

Chris Iannetta, C

Ian Stewart, 3B

Clint Barmes, 2B

Jason Hammel, RHP

Two catchers who have been injured recently, Paul Lo Duca (right arm strain) and Paul Phillips (right calf strain) are listed as available on the lineup card. Lo Duca said if he plays defensively, it’ll be at first base.

Righty reliever Rafael Betancourt will make his first appearance of the spring after battling shoulder tightness, and lefty Randy Flores will return after being hit on the throwing forearm by a line drive six days ago.

Rockies set for match with Indians

Right-handed closer Huston Street is likely headed to the disabled list with a shoulder issue. He’s having an MRI today. Infielder Omar Quintanilla is getting an MRI tomorrow.

So the news has been a little bit of a downer this morning. But the Rockies are playing the Indians today at Hi Corbett Field. Here’s the Rockies’ lineup:

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Dexter Fowler, CF

Todd Helton, 1B

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Brad Hawpe, RF

Chris Iannetta, C

Ian Stewart, 3B

Clint Barmes, 2B

Jorge De La Rosa, LHP

 

Lineup for Tuesday; Cook has chance to bounce back

After a few days back in the Denver area for rest and relaxation, I rejoin the Fighting Rockies in Glendale. It’s a nice lineup for a road Spring Training game.

Eric Young Jr., 2B

Dexter Fowler, DH

Seth Smith, RF

Ryan Spilborghs, LF

Ian Stewart, 3B

Melvin Mora, CF

Michael Paulk, 1B

Paul Phillips, C

Omar Quintanilla, SS

RHP Aaron Cook

The player to watch is Cook, who was shelled by the Rangers in his last start (9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 2/3 IP). Interestingly, the game was at Hi Corbett Field and the Rangers made a long trip, but they started several key regulars — Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Nelson Cruz.

I haven’t seen a White Sox lineup, but they are at home here in Glendale, so Cook should be facing tough hitters.

 

Strong group to face Dodgers

No one can accuse the Rockies of not using a representative lineup on Tuesday against the Dodgers at Glendale.

In additoin to projected Opening Day starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, the Rockies’ roster for the bus trip includes catcher Chris Iannetta, second baseman Clint Barmes, third baseman Ian Stewart, and outfielders Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, Seth Smith and Ryan Spilborghs.

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.

 

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