Results tagged ‘ Matt Murton ’

Murton makes his return

It appears outfielder Matt Murton finally gets what he deserves — a chance to stay in the Majors. All Murton has done is hit .324 with 27 doubles, 12 home runs and 79 RBIs at Triple-A Colorado Springs. At one point he set a Sky Sox record with a 29-game hit streak. But all that got him before now was two brief trips to the Majors.

Such is life when a team has a stacked outfield, the way the Rockies do. When the Rockies acquired him from the Athletics for infielder Cory Wimberly during the offseason, they figured part of Murton’s value was he had a Minor League option and could be sent up and down for roster purposes. That’s exactly what happened, even though Murton did well in Colorado Springs and decently in 22 games with the Rockies (.267, one home run, five doubles, six RBIs). But on Tuesday, Murton was one of four players from Colorado Springs to be called up for the final 24 games.

It’s not as if the Rockies are calling up Murton, infielder Mike McCoy and pitchers Matt Belisle and Jhoulys Chacin as rewards for a job well done. All could come into play in the final days. Murton had several big moments as a part-time player with the Cubs over the last several years. McCoy is valuable since starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is suffering from back spasms. With an expanded roster, having a couple of extra pitchers like Chacin — the team’s top prospect — and Bellisle around can’t hurt.

To keep the Major League roster below the 40-man limit, the Rockies made a couple of paperwork moves. By calling designating right-handed pitcher Adam Eaton for assignment and calling up infielder Chris Nelson but putting him on the 60-day disabled list, the club cleared the necessary spots so they could purchase the contracts of Belisle and McCoy.

For those interested, Murton (No. 14) and Chacin (45) will keep the same jersey numbers as they had in their earlier callups. McCoy will wear 18. Belisle returns wearing No. 34 after a trade with fellow righty reliever Matt Herges, who will wear 32. 

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

Morales healthy, but needs work

First of all, no lineup blog tonight. I had other duties, so the game with the Braves is under way. There is a story on the site on the big lineup move, with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki being punished for an at-bat approach that manager Clint Hurdle didn’t like at all. It’s more than a story about one guy. It has to do with Hurdle’s attempt to refocus the club.

Anyhow, lefty Franklin Morales, still on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, threw a simulated game at Turner Field on Wednesday. he was healthy and threw all his pitches. He was wild, and at times scary for the hitters who faced him, Yorvit Torrealba, Omar Quintanilla, Seth Smith, Dexter Fowler and Matt Murton.

Morales said he’ll throw another bullpen session, and Hurdle said the club is looking for another simulated game for Morales before he begins a Minor League rehab assignment.

Also, lefty Greg Smith, who is recovering from shoulder problems that set in late in Spring Training, will pitch at Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sunday, after throwing twice at Class-A Modesto. Righty reliever Ryan Speier, who suffered a left hamstring strain in April, will move from Modesto to Double-A Tulsa. Speier could appear Wednesday night. 

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

Murton gets a shot … maybe

Recent callup Matt Murton is in the llineup in left field as the Rockies prepare to face the Giants and accomplished lefty Randy Jonhnson at AT&T Park. Well, they hope to play. But it’s raining and cold and nasty here. It’s often cold and nasty in The City by the Bay. Beautiful city, lousy weather.

With Johnson the mound, manager Clint Hurdle gave another day off to right fielder Brad Hawpe, a left-handed hitter. Hawpe was hit in the back of the neck by a thrown ball on Monday, and suffered a contusion that kept him out of the next two games. Hawpe said he would feel good enough to play tonight.

Anyhow, here are the lineups:

Rockies

Dexter Fowler            CF

Matt Murton               LF

Todd Helton               1B

Garrett Atkins            3B

Ryan Spilborghs        RF

Troy Tulowitzki          SS

Chris Iannetta             C

Clint Barmes             2B

Ubaldo Jimenez          P

Giants

Randy Winn              LF

Edgar Renteria          SS

Pablo Sandoval          3B

Bengie Molina             C

Aaron Rowland           CF

Fred Lewis                 LF

Travis Ishikawa           1B

Emmanuel Burriss      2B

Randy Johnson            P

 

Dexter Fowler is still here…

The Rockies announced some cuts Monday morning. Center field prospect Dexter Fowler, considered too young at the start of camp for big-league consideration, survived and could force his way onto the team. Interestingly, Matt Murton was sent out despite his .302 spring average. A story is coming on the site.

Here is their official press release:

 

TUCSON – The Colorado Rockies announced today that three players have been optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs, while three other players have been reassigned to minor league camp.

 

The following players have been optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs: outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, outfielder Matt Murton and left-handed pitcher Greg Smith. Additionally, catcher Edwin Bellorin, left-handed pitcher Randy Flores and catcher Paul Phillips have all been reassigned to Minor League camp. 

 

The Rockies now have 34 players on the Major League Spring Training roster, including 8 non-roster players

Decision time?

The Rockies did not open their clubhouse to the media this morning. This nearly always means roster moves, so it’s a big day at Hi Corbett Field.

This year’s decisions are tougher than ever. Prospect Dexter Fowler gets harder and harder to send down to Triple-A Colorado Springs, but has anyone really played himself out of the starting lineup so Fowler can get regular playing time?  Also, reserve-types Matt Murton and Daniel Ortmeier have performed well enough to earn bench spots, but so have Jeff Baker and Omar Quintanilla.

Also, the big decision that should come down today is the closer. Will it be Huston Street or Manuel Corpas?

Stay tuned.

Breathing easily

Good evening, everyone. It’s Thursday evening. If you’re back in Denver, sorry. That is, unless you enjoy shoveling snow. Some folks do. All I can say is I admire you.

Anyhow, I have a few thoughts about this afternoon’s 8-6 loss to the Dodgers, besides whatever appears in stories on the site. Here goes:

– Todd Helton had two doubles and is up to .423 in the Cactus League. Great sign, but what impressed me today was what I saw from him defensively. He dove for a hit that turned into an RBI double, but he didn’t hesitate to make that dive. After years of back problems, he wouldn’t have been blamed for thinking twice about it. Who knows? Maybe the intensity of a regular-season game would have given him the reach he needed to make that play. He also made a nice pickup and throw to the plate to cut down a runner.

Manager Clint Hurdle knows he needs to keep an eye on Helton’s back. But he also sees a player who doesn’t leave him breathless with worry.

“He is playing with freedom,” Hurdle said. “I am by no means on the edge of my seat watching his every move.”

– Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa had a bad inning, when he gave up five runs in the fourth. He also had four clean innings. So you can take what you want from this one. He could have minimized the damage, but walked pinch-hitter Doug Mientkiewicz and opened the door for the Dodgers. Breezing through the next inning was a good sign, but you’d like to see him stop trouble when it’s in progress.

Despite the 9.42 spring ERA, there is no wavering on De La Rosa as the No. 4 starter. 

– Outfield backup hopeful Scott Podsednik went 0-for-4 and is down to .231. He will need a strong finish to secure a job, especially with Matt Murton and Daniel Ortmeier hitting well and Dexter Fowler trying to change the thinking that he needs time in Triple-A. If the Rockies don’t go with Podsednik, they lose experience. Podsednik readily shares his knowledge with fellow outfielders, but production trumps that.

– One moment looked scarier from the press box than it was. On one of the two times catcher Chris Iannetta threw out a runner attempting to steal, he was hit on the left arm by backswinging bat. But Iannetta didn’t flinch. Getting clubbed with a bat is just part of the job.

That’s it for tonight. I need to pace myself. Tomorrow I’ll hit you with some thoughts on the closer competition, specifically where Manuel Corpas stands in the competition with Huston Street. 

A Holliday celebration … Hawpe to the cage, maybe beyond

The Rockies are preparing to meet the Athletics at Hi Corbett Field. More than that, they’re ready to welcome an old friend, their former left fielder, Matt Holliday.

Unable to sign him for the long term, the Rockies dealt him to the Athletics for pitchers Greg Smith and Huston Street, and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

“It’ll be weird,” Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. “It’ll be different seeing him in an A’s uniform. It’ll be different when he comes up to bat, not watching him from the dugout but having to play defense against him. But it’ll be exciting just to watch him play and get to see him.

“He’s definitely a guy I look up to and respect a lot. I think I’ve made that pretty clear. At the same time, there’s a business part of it, and it’s a choice he made and the Rockies made. I respect both sides.”

Here’s the lineup that will welcome Holliday:

Ryan Spilborghs           CF

Clint Barmes                2B

Todd Helton                 1B

Garrett Atkins              3B

Troy Tulowitzki             SS

Seth Smith                  LF

Matt Murton                RF

Yorvit Torrealba             C

Jorge De La Rosa      LHP

– In a bit of good news for the Rockies, right fielder Brad Hawpe said he planned to hit in the batting cage on Tuesday and possibly join his teammates on the field for batting practice. Hawpe hasn’t played since suffering a lacerated left pinkie finger on Feb. 27.

– Right-handed closer Manuel Corpas is back in the Rockies’ camp after pitching for Panama in the World baseball Classic.

 

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