Results tagged ‘ Jason Giambi ’

Rockies: Helton, Hernandez rest; Colvin gets a start

Rockies manager Jim Tracy decided Wednesday to give veteran first baseman Todd Helton and catcher Ramon Hernandez extra rest by not starting them in Wednesday’s first game of a doubleheader against the Pirates at PNC Park. Jason Giambi started at first base and Willin Rosario was the catcher.

Game 1 also gave the Rockies an opportunity to start Tyler Colvin in center field. Colvin, hitting .323 in part-time duty, started instead of Dexter Fowler, who is at .224 after getting a hit in Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss to the Pirates.

“Hernandez and Helton, just because of the opportunity to give them a few more hours to recharge their batteries,” Tracy said. “I’m looking at our lineup in Game 1 and Game 2 and feeling real good about the fact that these lineups right here can win on any given day.

“I’m not taking anything away from Dexter because I’m using Dexter in the second game, but I want to keep Tyler Colvin in play and try to find him games to be involved in.”

Tracy said he plans to start left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who homered twice Tuesday night, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and right fielder Michael Cuddyer in both games.

Right-handed relief pitcher Zach Putnam, recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs as the 26th player (allowed under new Collective Bargaining Agreement rules for doubleheaders), will wear No. 54. Putnam was 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA, three saves, 11 strikeouts and three walks in five Triple-A appeareances. Last season, Putnam appeared in eight games with the Indians (1-1, 6.14 ERA, nine strikeouts, two walks), and came to the Rockies over the winter for pitcher Kevin Slowey.

The Pirates are a heavily right-handed hitting team, which plays into the hands of today’s starting pitchers, Juan Nicasio and Jhoulys Chacin. Nicasio has held right-handed hitters to a .226 career aveage in a big-league career that has consisted of 14 starts last year and three this yer, and Game 2 starter Jhoulys Chacin has held righties to a career .208 average. This year, righties are hitting .100 (3-for-30), the fourth-lowest average among right-handed pitchers in baseball.

Rockies, Game 1

Marco Scutaro, 2B (.224)

Tyler Colvin, CF (.323)

Carlos Gonzalez, LF (.278)

Troy Tulowitzki, SS (.293)

Jason Giambi, 1B (.273)

Michael Cuddyer, RF (.322)

Wilin Rosario, C (.261)

Chris Nelson, 3B (.239)

Juan Nicasio, RHP (1-0, 6.19 ERA)

Pirates, Game 1

Alex Presley, LF (.288)

Jose Tabata, RF (.196)

Andrew McCutchen, CF (.339)

Neil Walker, 2B (.222)

Casey McGehee, 1B (.289)

Pedro Alvarez, 3B (.108)

Clint Barmes, SS (.146)

Michael McKenry, C (.286)

James McDonald, RHP (0-1, 3.45 ERA)

 

Tulowitzki rests, clears his head; Scutaro plays short, Herrera second

Veteran Jason Giambi introduced his friend and Rockies teammate, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, to someone really special Tuesday night.

“I showed him some highlights of him playing and, ‘That’s you.’” Giambi said. “I said, ‘I know. I’ve been there many times, the deer in the highlights look and you’re just reeling.’ He’ll get through this just great. He’ll be fine.”

Right now, Tulowitzki doesn’t recognize the player he sees in the mirror.

Tulowitzki committed two errors Tuesday night, the second of which nearly cost teammate Jamie Moyer in his bid to become the oldest Major League pitcher ever to win a game at 49 years and 151 days. The Rockies prevailed and Moyer earned his place in history. Now Tulowitzki needs to realize that his ability to control a game from shortstop isn’t history, either.

The present isn’t looking so bright for Tulowitzki. His six errors match his total for last season, and he is hitting .244. Both of those figures are shocking for a player who has won National League Rawlings Gold Glove and Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger awards for each of the last two seasons.

Tulowitzki, who was out of the lineup for the first time this season for the Padres-Rockies game Wednesday night, admitted the mistakes — especially the throwing errors — are weighing on him. He said he has been worried about his throwing since Saturday night, when he had two throwing errors while playing in wet and cold conditions against the D-backs.

“I’m taking the field and thinking about it,” Tulowitzki said. “I never thought about defense. I just go out there and play, and if I make an error, I made an error. But I wasn’t worried about it. So, yeah, I think about it. It’s in my head. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t in my head. I think about it because I care.

“It’s never that I don’t want the ball to come to me. Once I reach that point, then I have some serious problems. I want the ball. But more or less when you’re playing catch, it’s, ‘OK, hit him in the chest,’ where before it was just throwing it to him. It’s more things like that, that I never really thought about. There’s nothing more to really say than that.”

Tulowitzki suffered a right hip flexor strain during the season’s first series at Houston, but he played through it and insisted that there is no injury that’s preventng him from performing well.

Marco Scutaro moved from second base to shortstop, the position he occupied with the Red Sox last season, and Jonathan Herrera started at second base.

In other lineup news, catcher Wilin Rosario started for the second straight game while Ramon Hernandez nursed a sore left hand. Manager Jim Tracy said Hernandez should be available Friday night when the Rockies begin a three-game series at Milwaukee.

Padres lineup

Will Venable, CF

Chris Denorfia, RF

Chase Headley, 3B

Jesus Guzman, LF

Yonder Alonso, 1B

Nick Hundley, C

Jason Bartlett, SS

Orlando Hudson, 2B

Clayton Richard, LHP

Rockies lineup

Marco Scutaro, SS

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Todd Helton, 1B

Wilin Rosario, C

Chris Nelson, 3B

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Juan Nicasio, RHP

Rockies trainer was first to see Nicasio’s comeback coming

When a player is injured, the team’s head atheltic trainer knows more about the injury, rehab and chances of a comeback better than anyone, save for a doctor. Rockies head athetic trainer Keith Dugger  was the first to see pitcher Juan Nicasio’s miracle return from a broken neck — which culminates with his start against the Astros on Sunday afternoon — coming.

Dugger watched in amazement during the winter as Nicasio, who suffered the injury (along with a fractured skull) when he was hit in the head with a line drive by the Nationals’ Ian Desmond and tumbled to the mound last Aug. 5, threw pitches in the Dominican Republic, with no effects from neck surgery and no referred pain in his muscles. When general manager Dan O’Dowd called and asked if Nicasio would be ready by June, Dugger was the first to say it could be long before that.

In Spring Training, Nicasio proved Dugger correct.

“I was more worried about Spring Training,” Dugger said. “But after that first comebacker [a line drive that buzzed past him in his first spring appearance], I knew we were home free.

“And I think once he gets through a start in Denver, back on the mound where he got injured, he’ll be completely over it.”

Manager Jim Tracy said Nicasio is “way past what happened.”

Nicasio will be backed by a lineup full of changes, as Dexter Fowler, Todd helton, Ramon Hernandez and Marco Scutaro rest.

Rockies batting order

Tyler Colvin, CF

Jordan Pacheco, 3B

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Jason Giambi, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Wilin Rosario, C

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Juan Nicasio, P

Astros lineup

Jordan Schafer, CF

Jose Altuve, 2B

J.D. Martinez, LF

Carlos Lee, 1B

Brian Bogusevic, RF

Chris Johnson, 3B

Jason Castro, C

Marwin Gonzalez, SS

Bud Norris, P

Cuddyer back in lineup

Rockies right fielder Micahel Cuddyer returned to the lineup today, against the Mariners, for the first time since being hit in the hand with a pitch from the Rangers’ Yu Darvish on Friday night.

Cuddyer was originally scheduled to play Sunday against the Indians, but was scratched before the game.

“[Sunday] I picked up the bat and swung a little bit, and only took about five swings and was afraid this thing was going to blow up again,” Cuddyer said. “I wanted to take yesterday to see if I could do it. I hit, and there was no problem.”

Cuddyer said he is excited for Friday night’s opener at Houston, after playing all or parts of the last 11 seasons with the Twins.

“For Opening Day, I was always anxious, nervous, butterflies,” Cuddyer said. “I get butterflies for every game. Now, being with a new team, new fan base, new organization, new league, I almost feel like a rookie again. In Houston, I’ll be facing three pitchers and I’ve only faced one of them before — like, three at-bats.

“Feeling like a rookie again is fun.”

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was out for the second straight day after being hit on the left elbow by the Indians’ Ubaldo Jimenez — who was issued a five-game suspension and undisclosed fine after Major League Baseball determined that the act was intentional. Tulowitzki was to hit in the batting cage today.

Here is the Rockies’ lineup for today’s next-to-last Cactus League game:

Marco Scutaro, SS

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Todd Helton, 1B

Jason Giambi, DH

Ramon Hernandez, C

Jordan Pacheco, 3B

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Rockies pitching for today:

Juan Nicasio, RHP

Matt Belisle, RHP

Rafael Betancourt, RHP

Rex Brothers, LHP

 

 

Rockies roster set

Rockies manager Jim Tracy announced his Opening Day roster on Monday, although there will be some changes in the early days of the season. Left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz won’t be activated until April 15, when he is scheduled to pitch, and lefty Jamie Moyer won’t be activated until he starts Saturday against the Astros.

One spot is up in the air. Left-handed reliever Josh Outman is battling food poisoning. If he won’t be ready for Friday, the Rockies will have to make an adjustment by bringing back right-hander Alex White, who was optioned to the Minors on Monday.

Tracy also said he is comfortable setting a roster with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki active. Tulowitzki suffered a bruised left elbow on Sunday when hit by a pitch from the Indians’ Ubaldo Jimenez.

Here is the roster for Friday’s opener against the Astros:

PITCHERS (11) — Jeremy Guthrie, Juan Nicasio, Jhoulys Chacin, Matt Belisle, Rafael Betancourt, Rex Brothers, Tyler Chatwood, Matt Reynolds, Josh Roenicke, Esmil Rogers, Josh Outman

CATCHERS (2) — Ramon Hernandez, Wilin Rosario

INFIELDERS (7) — Todd Helton, Marco Scutaro, Troy Tulowitzki, Jordan Pacheco, Chris Nelson, Jason Giambi, Jonathan Herrera.

OUTFIELDERS (5) — Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Michael Cuddyer, Tyler Colvin, Eric Young Jr.

Making the team better is bigger than making the team

Spring Training can feel like a lot of time to determine little. Teams spend six weeks figuring out the fifth starter, a bullpen position or two, the last infielder and outfielder, and the backup catcher. If we’re lucky, a position or two in the regular lineup. The media fill the World Wide Web with stories about players who will go largely ignored during the regular season. Of course, nothing is wrong with this. And if one of these backups becomes a star, fans have a chance to remember something about him, or at least they can plug his name into a search engine and find plenty.

But the real issue flies under the radar.

In all this activity, what do the stars and backups alike do that will carry over into the regular season?

Probelm is the important work is hard to measure. Last year’s Rockies best illustrate this issue.

The Rockies were 20-11-1 last spring. The storyline went that moving from Tucson, Ariz., to the new complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., meant more regualrs could play regularly, and it showed in the performance. The party line was more time together meant better fundamental play.

But as the Rockies were careening toward 89 losses, I talked to one veteran player who made a point: Many of those sound, fundamental at-bats — the productive outs, the hit-and-runs, the walks — came from young players who were not even in the big-league radar. When they were in the game, the guys they were just as far from the Majors. All of this made the sparkling record empty.

Manager Jim Tracy is paying special attention to the starters this spring to make sure they’re playing winning baseball, even though the victories don’t count once the regular year begins.

After Saturday’s victory over the Giants, Tracy was every bit as excited about outfielder Tyler Colvin’s hit-and-run that drove in a run as he was about Juan Nicasio’s 5 2/3 innings of positive pitching. After Saturday’s victory over the Giants, he made a point of mentioning Jonathan Herrera’s well-executed hit-and-run that led to a two-run inning and complimented Carlos Gonzalez on an RBI groundout with two strikes. These comments have been common this spring.

The headlines will go to position competitions, but we all can use the reminder that spring is not just about making the team.

It’s about making the team better.

Some notes about today’s game against the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium:

– Marco Scutaro, who played shortstop for the Red Sox last season but was acquired by the Rockies to start at second base, will make his first Cactus League start at short today. Scutaro’s ability to move to short is important.

Tracy has vowed not to overuse regular shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Last season, Tulowitzki played in 143 games but that was with him not playing after Sept. 22 with hip soreness. He would have played had the team been in the playoff hunt, but would his production have been compromised? Would he have put himself at risk for further injury?

The 140-game mark sounds smart, but the Rockies need to do that at a normal pace. If they need the National Guard to keep him out of the lineup for a few games in April and May, so be it.

The Rockies have several players capable of playing short in a pinch, but Scutaro represents an experienced alternative with classic shortstop abilities.

– For the second time this spring, Scutaro is batting first and Dexter Fowler is hitting second. They usually are flopped. The first time it happened, Scutaro delivered an RBI double and Fowler had a good game at the plate. Both have spent the spring searching for their swings.

– Regular right fielder Michael Cuddyer is starting at first base today. Tracy had used Cuddyer for eight defensive innings at the position in previous spring games, but Cuddyer must be prepared for more. If Todd Helton’s back becomes an issue, the Rockies could move Cuddyer to first and fill his spot with a backup outfielder.

Here is a look at today’s lineups:

ROCKIES BATTING ORDER

Marco Scutaro, SS

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Jason Giambi, DH

Michael Cuddyer, 1B

Jordan Pacheco, 3B

Wilin Rosario, C

Tyler Colvin, RF

Brandon Wood, 2B

ROCKIES PITCHING

Starter: Drew Pomeranz, LHP

Matt Reynolds, LHP

Edgmer Escalona, RHP

Matt Belisle, RHP

Josh Outman, LHP

Stephen Dodson, RHP

ANGELS BATTING ORDER

Erick Aybar, SS

Howie Kendrick, 2B

Albert Pujols, 1B

Torii Hunter, RF

Vernon Wells, CF

Kendrys Morales, DH

Bobby Abreu, LF

Alberto Callaspo, 3B

Chris Iannetta, C

ANGELS PITCHING

Starter: Garrett Richards, RHP

Jordan Walden, RHP

Hisanori Takahashi, LHP

Rich Thompson, RHP

 

Pomeranz to pitch today for Rockies AAA; more action to watch on back fields

The Rockies are off today. However, right-hander Drew Pomeranz, who left his last start with tightness in his right glute, will pitch today in a Minor League game against Angels Triple-A players at Tempe. Pomeranz is expected to work around four innings.

Manager Jim Tracy also said several Rockies regulars will be taking at-bats in Minor League games to sharpen themselves for the season. A Major League player can bat in every inning in a Minor League game, which guarantees the plate appearances he needs.

“I’m going to check with Jason Giambi after we get back off the off-day and Todd [Helton] to see if they want additional at-bats from the ones that they’re getting in the [regular] games,” Tracy said. “There is one stipulation. I’m not disrespecting anyone with regard to the statement, but I want them back there on a day when the Double-A and Triple-A clubs are back there. I don’t want them to go back there and hit in an A-ball game, just because you have young kids learning how to pitch.

“Double-A and Triple-A, you see guys that could show up in the Major Leagues. I don’t want one of them [veterans] getting hurt in an A-ball game. That won’t happen.”

Tracy also said switch-hitting leadoff man Dexter Fowler also will get Minor League at-bats. Fowler doubled Tuesday night against the Padres but also struck out twice and his hitting .103. Tracy said the timing of his leg kick is a little off, but he’s not panicking about it.

Pomeranz leads Rockies vs. Royals; also, Rox face M’s in B game

Rockies left-hander Drew Pomeranz hopes to build on his scoreless two innings in the team’s Cactus League opener, a 1-1 tie with the D-backs on Friday afternoon, when he faces the Royals today. Fans can see the contest via a webcast. The game will start at 1:10 p.m. at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Felipe Paulino, formerly with the Rockies, will pitch for Kansas City.

Additionally, the Rockies and Mariners will play a B game at Salt River Fields at 10 a.m. on Field 1, which is just beyond the right-field corner of the main stadium.

Here is the Rockies’ batting order for the main game:

Dexter Fowler, CF

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Jordan Pacheco, 1B

Jason Giambi, DH

Ramon Hernandez, C

Tyler Colvin, RF

Casey Blake, 3B

Chris Nelson, SS

Tim Wheeler, LF

Here is the pitching plan:

Drew Pomeranz, LHP

Josh Outman, LHP

Matt Belisle, RHP

Edgmer Escalona, RHP

Dustin Molleken, RHP

Edwar Cabrera, LHP

Joe Gardner, RHP

Here is the Rockies’ lineup for the the B game against the Mariners:

Eric Young Jr., 2B

Brendan Harris, RF

Brandon Wood, 3B

Chad Tracy, 1B

Ben Paulsen, DH

Andrew Brown, LF

DJ LeMahieu, SS

Jamie Hoffmann, CF

Lars Davis, C

Here is the pitching plan for the B game:

Rob Scahill, RHP

Carlos Torres, RHP

Josh Sullivan, RHP

Mike Ekstrom, RHP

Josh Roenicke, RHP

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.

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