Results tagged ‘ Jim Tracy ’
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki gave the Rockies a 6-1 lead over the Athletics in the fifth inning with a three-run homer off left-handed starter Brett Anderson. It was his fourth homer of the spring. Tulowitzki also his hitting .359 with 10 RBIs.
“He’s not in search mode,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “He came in here with the swing he finished the season with last year. He’s comfortable with it. He’s good with it. And he knows that.”
The jury is out on Rockies prospect Eric Young Jr. when it comes to his completeness. But he is finishing Spring Training demonstrating why folks are interested in the answer, and showing why there are questions.
In Sunday’s game with the Athletics, Young knocked a slow roller into left field and hustled out a double in the second inning. In the sixth, he walked, stole second and stole third.
But with two out and one on in the seventh, Young, who had moved from third base to center field, dropped an Eric Patterson fly ball that was almost directly at him. This came a day after a fly ball in left field by the White Sox’s Mark Kotsay ticked off his glove for a double.
The Rockies have tried Young, a second baseman, at second, third, left field and center field this spring. The defensive results have been mixed, and he has struggled in the outfield. Offensively, he was hitting .154 through March 19. In the nine days since, Young has hit .400 (8 for 20) to improve his batting average to .226. In fairness, before rushing unnecessarily and dropping the fly ball in the seventh inning, Young made a couple of stellar plays on hard-hit balls at third base.<p>
Unless something happens in the final days of camp, the switch-hitting Young will have time to work on his various skills. The Rockies’ signing of veteran right-handed hitting utility man Melvin Mora put Young in position to begin the year at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
The strong offensive finish is reminiscent of last spring, when Young looked nervous early but received regular work and finished well enough to make an impression. Last August, the Rockies called him up and used him at center field, second base and off the bench.
“I think that’s a good thing,” Young said. “You want to make sure you’re going into the season hitting your stride, and you want to take off at full speed. I’m glad I was able to get those not-so-good at-bats out the first week, especially with the pitchers a week ahead as far as timing and all that. So I feel pretty good coming into this last week.”
Rockies manager Jim Tracy said to remember that the expanded utility role is new for Young, who has the athletic ability but is having to develop the game-situation awareness to move from position to position.
“Coming in and doing it for the first time on day one of Spring Training, how can you not be pleased with what you’re seeing with this kid?” Tracy said. “I told him a while back, ‘I don’t know what you’re hitting and I don’t care what you’re hitting, because you’re going to hit. You don’t need to prove that to us.’
“That’s not even an issue. But how comfortable can you be if in the middle of the game I move you from third base to center field? Can you do that? That’s part of what a big-time utility player is able and must be capable of doing. There’s a little bit of a challenge to it.”
Rockies manager Jim Tracy tweaked the pitching plan for Saturday. Earlier, the plan was for right-hander Tim Redding to start in a Minor League game. But manager Jim Tracy said Redding instead will pitch in the Major League game in relief of a game with the White Sox, which Aaron Cook will start. Lefty Joe Beimel and and righty Matt Belisle are scheduled to pitch in the Minor League game.
Right-handed reliever Huston Street will play catch on Friday, but don’t expect any pronouncements about being on the way back from the shoulder tightness that will delay the start of his regular season.
“It’ll be the first time [playing catch] since they shut me down again,” said Street, who progressed far enough to throw a simulated game before his shoulder turned sore again. “I’m not going to jump out there to any conclusions.
“The last time, I was throwing to hitters. I thought I was on the road. So I’m just going to take it one day at a time and just get a little bit better. But we don’t have a [return to the Majors] date in mind. It’s going to happen as soon as we can get out there.”
— The Rockies recently told righty Tim Redding his best chance to make the club would be as a reliever. But the club has moved his next appearance to Saturday, but he’ll start and go four innings in a Minor League game.
“The reasoning I was told was one- and two-inning outings isn’t going to benefit me or the team because the role I’m going to be in is going to require me to throw possibly upwards of four, even five innings or spot-start,” Redding said. “They want to keep my endurance and my pitch count up. It’s always easier to go down than it is to be down and try to go up.”
— Left-hander Joe Beimel joined the Rockies on Tuesday, and manager Jim Tracy and general manager Dan O’Dowd said they didn’t see him being ready for the start of the regular season. Beimel sees it differently. He threw a “live” batting practice session Wednesday, during the Major Leaguers’ day off.
Asked if he took the conservative statements of his bosses as a challenge, Beimel laughed.
“A little bit,” Beimel said. “I know how hard I worked during the offseason. I know how hard I work as a player, what it takes to get ready for a 162-game season. I knew there was a possibility I wasn’t going to sign until late. I wasn’t sitting on the couch eating potato chips.
“I feel outstanding today. Not sore a single bit anywhere. I’m good to go.”
He wants to throw in a game on Saturday.
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.
The Rockies played their last two games in Surprise, Ariz., and Goodyear, Ariz. — the two longest trips from Tucson, Ariz. After Sunday’s game, the Rockies’ bus was stalled in traffic behind a major accident, so the trip was even longer.
Those happened the days second-year right-hander Matt Daley was scheduled to pitch his first back-to-back of the spring.
Daley ended up throwing two perfect innings. He struck out two Sunday in an 11-11 tie with Royals and retired the only two batters he faced after replacing Jorge De La Rosa with one out in the sixth inning of Monday’s 9-1 victory over the Reds.
Daley gave up five hits, three earned runs and a walk in his first two Cactus League games, but has followed that up with five perfect appearances. Efficiency is his key.
“For a middle reliever, coming into jams, you want to get your team back on the bench as soon as possible,” he said.
Manager Jim Tracy said Daley simply needed time. “Finesse guys take longer,” he said.
Maybe the beard is the secret to success. Daley, 27, looks his age. That couldn’t be said last year. He admitted he needed to change something after his bad start.
“I just started growing it after the first two times out,” he said. “I’ve been good since, so I’m not going to get rid of it yet.
“Me and [veteran right-hander Justin] Speier have been joking. He said he’s got to get clean-shaven to look young and I’ve got to grow this to look old.”
With two days off in the first eight days of the season, an idea was floated to leave left-hander Jeff Francis in Tucson for additional work and back up his first start of the season. That’s not what manager Jim Tracy is thinking, however.
“I want him to be a part of it,” Tracy told reporters on Sunday in Surprise, Ariz., where the Rockies faced the Royals. “Unless he can’t pitch or we see a big deterioration between now and the time we leave for Alburquerque [for exhibition games], Jeff Francis is being looked upon as one of the five sarters in this rotation.”
Francis, who missed last season because of surgery on his throwing shoulder, has been on and off with his effectiveness this spring.
Infielder Chris Nelson, the ninth overall choice in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, needed to make a good impression in Rockies camp. He was optioned to Minor League camp on Sunday morning, but he left a good impression.
Nelson, 24, has been hampered by injuries at various points of his career. But in last year’s Spring Training he might have been hurt more by the impression he gave then-bench coach Jim Tracy, who is now the manager.
“This kid in my opinion, his whole approach is completely different from a year ago,” Tracy said. “He gives me very much the impression that baseball is very important to him now. I didn’t get that impression as a coach here last year. His work ethic and everything else suggests exactly what I’m saying.”
Tracy announced on Saturday that right-hander Esmil Rogers also was optioned to the Minors. The Rockies have cut their Major League camp from 62 players to 44. The team has to trim to 25 for the regular season.
Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis’ stat line was rough — six runs, four earned, and six hits in four innings of Saturday’s 11-10 victory over the Angels.
In the second, Francis gave up four doubles in a five-batter stretch. Third baseman Melvin Mora spent that inning diving toward the line at hard-hit balls and coming up with nothing. That as because Francis was missing low with his breaking ball and changeup, and hitters were sitting on a fastball that isn’t sharp yet.
But it wasn’t cause for depression.
Francis struck out Robb Quinlan with the bases loaded and one out in the first. He forced Terry Evans into a grounder to shortstop Clint Barmes; however, second baseman Jonathan Herrera lost Barmes’ potentially inning-ending throw in the glare of the metal bleachers and two runs scored.
After the rough second inning, Francis pitched scoreless ball in the third and fourth. He finished with five strikeouts.
Francis realizes he’s still regaining his sharpness after missing last season because of left shoulder surgery.
“Today wasn’t as good as the last time, but I’ve come a long way since the first time out,” he said. “I keep doing things in between starts to help me.
“I can take those last two innings and look at them and say I battled pretty good with not having everything in my pocket.”
Manager Jim Tracy commended Francis on battling through his inconsistencies.
“There’s a lesson to be learned from this,” Tracy said. “I spoke a lot about this last year. You’re not going to be perfect every time you go out there. Figure something out to try to keep us hanging in there, and keep us in the game.”
Francis has two more Cactus League starts. However, with an early day off in the regular schedule, the Rockies have the option of keeping Francis in Tucson for a little more work before he’s needed in the rotation.
Because of shoulder stiffness, right-handed setup man Rafael Betancourt hasn’t appeared in a Cactus League game, but that could change quickly.
Betancourt, who posted a 1.92 ERA for the Rockies after arriving in a trade with the Indians, zoomed his fastball at 92 mph during a live batting practice session at Hi Corbet Field on Satrday afternoon. Before the session, manager Jim Tracy said a Minor League game would be Betancourt’s follow-up step. But now Tracy believes Betancourt is ready to appear in a Cactus League game.
“I don’t know exactly when that’s going to be, but Rafael Betancourt, from what I understand, is pushing for that a little bit,” Tracy said.