Results tagged ‘ Jason Giambi ’

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

LoDuca OK after arm injury; lineups

Non-roster catcher Paul Lo Duca suffered an undetermined arm injury and had to leave Friday’s game against the Athletics, but he said he was OK Saturday morning.

“There was just a knot under my arm,” Lo Duca said. “I don’t know what it is.”

Lo Duca said he was sore, but didn’t expect the problem to linger.

Here is the Rockies’ lineup agianst the Angels:

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Ryan Spilborghs, CF

Jason Giambi, 1B

Miguel Olivo, C

Brad Hawpe, RF

Melvin Mora, 3B

Seth Smith, LF

Clint Barmes, SS

Jeff Francis, LHP

Giambi and Hawpe are getting a coveted chance to see left-handed pitching — the Angels’ Scott Kazmir. The Rockies haven’t faced much of it. Spilborghs is getting a chance to play all three outfield positions this spring. Key relievers scheduled to participate are right-handers Matt Belisle and Justin Speier. Belisle has pitched well this spring, but forearm tightness has limited his appearances. Speier spent the last three seasons with the Angels.

Francis will be tested by an all right-handed lineup (that’s including switch-hitting leadoff man Macier Izturis). Here is the Angels lineup that Francis will face:

Macier Izturis, 2B

Jeff Mathis, C

Juan Rivera, RF

Brandon Wood, 3B

Robb Quinlan, LF

Terry Evans, CF

Freddy Sandoval, 1B

Gary Patchett, SS

Scott Kazmir, LHP

Rockies creative with Giambi

Veteran first baseman Jason Giambi will back up Todd Helton but also be called upon to deliver key hits late in games. So the Rockies know they’re going to have to be creative to keep him sharp.

 

That started Thursday. Giambi made the trip to Peoria, Ariz., from Tucson, Ariz., to make four plate appearances (0-for-3, hit by a pitch) against the Mariners in the Rockies’ 9-2 victory. The main reason Giambi made the drive — something rare for big-name players — was to face Mariners starter Ryan Rowland-Smith, a left-hander. The Rockies have not seen many of those this spring.

 

Before Thursday, Giambi had stepped in the box against a lefty just once.

 

Giambi also will play in some Minor League games for at-bats.

 

Almost as important is keeping sharp at first base, since he’ll have to spell Helton. The Rockies believe Giambi can be effective defensively in part-time duty. Last year with the Athletics, Giambi was forced into regular playing time at first because of injuries. A worn Giambi hit .193 before being released.

 

He found a revival with the Rockies while being used mostly as a pinch-hitter during a successful September push to the playoffs. The Rockies will not let him play himself into a wall. Just in case Helton has to miss extended time, the Rockies are preparing utility man Melvin Mora and right fielder Brad Hawpe for occasional duty at first base.

 

“It’s a little bit different,” Giambi said. “But at the same time, you start to get older. Being in the situation we are, it’s a great Rockies ballclub. I’m excited to be a part of it. I expect a lot of great things this year.

 

“I feel great. I’m moving around good. I’ve made some good plays defensively [this spring].”

Notes: Redding gets chance to make Rox’s bullpen

Rockies manager Jim Tracy informed non-roster right-hander Tim Redding on Wednesday that his best opportunity to break camp with the Major League squad is in the bullpen. Tracy said he’ll use Redding accordingly for the rest of Spring Training.

The decision was expected. The Rockies came to camp with five starters. As long as they performed, the only opening would be because of an injury.

Tracy wanted to act now, since he needs to see how Redding bounces back between outings. It isn’t clear whether Tracy will use Redding in short stints or to go through the lineup at least once. That’s part of what Tracy wants to see.

Tracy said he didn’t guarantee Redding a spot. But the chance is there. That chance was enhanced Wednesday when closer Huston Street announced that he was having an MRI to diagnose his right shoulder tightness. The development means Street is likely to begin the year on the disabled list, which will cause a shuffling of bullpen members.

“We’ve got plenty of days left to pitch him, sit him down, get him back up after a day off, see what the stuff looks like, and eventually get him up to the point where we see can he go a couple of days in a row,” Tracy said.

In other developments:

– Tracy will allow right fielder Brad Hawpe to play some first base in Minor League games and plans to use utility man Melvin Mora at first in Cactus League games.

This is a contingency plan. The club has Jason Giambi to step in when Todd Helton needs a rest. But if Helton is injured for a long period, Tracy said he does not want to wear out Giambi. Last season, Giambi was forced into daily duty with the Athletics because of injury and saw his batting average drop to .193 before he was released.

Mora took groundballs at first base on Wednesday. Tracy said he wants to make sure Hawpe is comfortable at first base before counting on that as a possibility. 

– Veterans tend to avoid the bus trips to the Phoenix area, but Giambi will go with the squad to Peoria, Ariz., for Thursday’s game against the Mariners.

– Giambi, Helton, Hawpe and center fielder Dexter Fowler also are candidates to hit in Minor League games. The Rockies have not faced a large number of left-handed pitchers, so Minor League games serve as opportunities for at-bats.

– Righty reliever Matt Belisle threw a perfect inning with a strikeout against the Indians, and has four scoreless innings in three games. Tracy said Belisle is in “attack mode, with some overwhelming stuff.”

More regulars joining the action

Manager Jim Tracy will put right fielder Brad Hawpe into his lineup for the first time Thursday against the Rangers at Hi Corbett Field, and will play first baseman Jason Giambi for the first time on Friday agianst the Giants.

Regular first baseman Todd Helton will make his first Cactus League appearance on Sunday at home against the Mariners.

“We’ll go from there on a day-to-day type of thing,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

Hawpe polishes off the arm

The Rockies finally put right fielder Brad Hawpe in a game — an intrasquad game on Wednesday morning. It turned out to be a chance to do one of the things he does best.

In the fourth inning, infield Jonathan Herrera singled to right and didn’t stop. Hawpe fielded, and threw a strike to second base to barely beat Herrera to the bag.

“You don’t run, with that arm out there,” a smiling Rockies manager Jim Tracy yelled toward Herrrera.

In a regular-season game, anyone would have been questioned for testing Hawpe — whose 47 assists are third-most among Major League right fielders since 2006. In an intrasquad game, such a decision would be considered a favor.

“I thanked Johnny afterwards,” Hawpe said.

Hawpe singled, walked and doubled.

The Rockies held Hawpe out of the early Spring Training workouts because of an infected ingrown toenail, but all along they didn’t intend to use him much in early Cactus League play. It’s the same program that the Rockies have been using for veteran first basemen Todd Helton and Jason Giambi.

Hawpe said, however, he could play Thursday against the Rangers at Hi Corbett Field.

Hawpe to be tested

Rockies right-fielder Brad Hawpe, coming back from an infected ingrown toenail, was held out of outdoor running activities Monday because of the rain in Tucson, but he’ll be tested more aggressively on Tuesday, manager Jim Tracy said. He could return to action shortly thereafter.

Righty reliever Rafael Betancourt’s stiff right shoulder is improving, Tracy said, but he was held out of throwing activities for fear he could slip on the wet ground. Tracy added that righty reliever Matt Belisle is dealing with forearm tightness, a situation the Rockies worked through last season. Righty closer Huston Street, who threw a light bullpen on Sunday, will throw a full bullpen on Tuesday. 

Hurdle continues to shoot for the latter part of this week to give veteran first basemen Todd Helton and Jason Giambi their first Cactus League action.

Why make a long season longer?

Right fielder Brad Hawpe has not appeared in a Cactus League game. He suffered an ingrown toenail at the start of camp and the toe was infected, but all that has cleared. Still the Rockies are giving him time to round into condition.

Also, first basemen Todd Helton, 36, and Jason Giambi, 39, have not appeared in a game. Hawpe, 30, said it could be a few more days before he plays.

“I think they talked about that, regardless if I had an infected toe or not,” Hawpe said. “That was the plan. I’m not in there right now, not because my toe is sore but because I’m getting ready for baseball season.

“Guys who are going to play and are going to be big contributors are getting rest. Everybody talks about guys getting tired at the end of the [regular] season, then you’ve got 30-something Spring Training games scheduled. Position players don’t need that. Thirty-something games are scheduled, in my opinion, for pitchers to get ready.”

In another lineup development, second-year center fielder Dexter Fowler, who missed the first two days of games while recovering from a stomach bug, will make his Cactus League debut Saturday against the Brewers.

Atkins the only Rockies non-tender

As expected, the Rockies parted ways with third baseman Garrett Atkins, who struggled to .226 batting average and lost his starting position to Ian Stewart in 2009. Atkins was the only arbitration-eligible Rockies player the club did not tender a contract offer before Saturday’s 10 p.m. deadline or doing so.

The Rockies will turn their attention to players to fill a bench role, one Atkins fell into last season. The Rockies are looking at right-handed hitters Jamey Carroll, Nick Green, Melvin Mora and Fernando Tatis and Robb Quinlan, and probably will see some more on the market. Left-handed hitters Jason Giambi, who helped the team down the stretch last season, and Chad Tracy also intrigue the Rockies.

Giambi arrives; Contreras to throw Saturday

The Rockies touted their veteran reinforcements on Tuesday, the beginning of what promises to be a mad dash that they hope will end in a playoff berth.

Left-handed swinging pinch-hitter Jason Giambi, who was released by the Athletics last month, joined the Rockies after a few days at Triple-A Colorado Springs to regain his swing. He hit home runs in his last two games with the Sky Sox.

“There is no small role when you’re in a pennant race,” Giambi said.

Rockies manager Jim Tracy also announced that right-hander Jose Contreras, who was acquired from the White Sox for Minor League right-hander Brandon Hynick on Monday night, will start Saturday against the D-backs and is in line to pitch against the Reds when the next turn in the rotation comes. Contreras is filling in for Aaron Cook (sore right shoulder), who played catch on Tuesday with no problems.

Also being promoted from Colorado Springs are left-handed reliever Randy Flores, righty reliever Joel Peralta and catcher Paul Phillips. All had their moments with the Rockies earlier this season.

Other possibilities for the Rockies this month are right-handers Russ Ortiz and Jhoulys Chacin, both of whom are helping Colorado Springs in its attempt to earn a playoff berth.

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