Results tagged ‘ Melvin Mora ’

Braves, Rockies continue to discuss Smith-Prado trade

The Rockies could use one more bat, specifically at second base. The Braves need a left fielder. None of this has changed since the offseason began and reports surfaced of the possibility of the Rockies sending left-handed hitting outfielder Seth Smith to Atlanta for right-handed hitting infielder Martin Prado. Dialogue between the teams continued through last week, and word Monday was the possibility of a trade remains alive.

The frontburner issue for the Braves appears to be seeing what kind of package they can receive for right-handed starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens, a move that could fill other needs.

The Rockies reached a three-year, $31.5 million agreement with former Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer last week, and are in position to deal Smith.

The Rockies’ main need is a durable starting pitcher, but they have shown no interest in dealing the multiple prospects that many teams require for such a deal. So adding another bat at second base, where the Rockies for now have a possible combination of former first-round Draft pick Chris Nelson and solid multi-position man Jonathan Herrera, has risen to the top of the pecking order.

It would be yet another roadblock for Nelson, who took awhile to find his legs as a professional but has earned compliments from manager Jim Tracy for his work ethic. If such a deal occurs, Nelson could get his chance at third base — if hot prospect Nolan Arenado needs more time to develop. Arenado put up dominant numbers in Class-A last year and in the Arizona Fall League, and will be given a shot to make the Majors this spring.

As for the pitcher, the Rockies would like to re-sign veteran righty Kevin Millwood, who displayed leadership — not only on the mound, but with his preparation between starts — that could help a mostly young starting staff. While it would be nice to add a 200-innings stalwart, it doesn’t look possible on the trading market, it’s cost-prohibitive in free agency, and might not be necessary. A veteran hurler who can stabilize the pitching until left-hander Jorge De La Rosa returns in May or June from Tommy John surgery might be good enough to keep the club in good position in the National League West.

The Denver Post reported late last week that the Rockies have reached out to free-agent right-hander Brad Lidge, who grew up in Colorado  and, through his agent, expressed interest in pitching for his hometown team. Lidge, who has history as a dominant closer, is coming off a 2011 season with the Phillies during which he missed time with a partially torn rotator cuff and experienced elbow issues. The Phillies have discussed bringing him back. Given his current health, it’s more likely that wherever he signs it would be under a Minor League deal. If the Rockies bring back infielder Melvin Mora, who played for them in 2010, it would be under a Minor League deal.

Wigginton, Rockies reportedly produce contract

Ty Wigginton apparently will fill the Rockies’ right-handed utility role, which includes spelling veteran Todd Helton at first base.

 

FoxSports.com’s Tracy Ringolsby reported that he has agreed to a two-year deal guaranteeing $7.5 million, which includes a $500,000 buyout on an option for a third year.

 

Wigginton, 33, batted .248 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs in a career-high 154 games for the Orioles last season while playing first base, second base, third base and designated hitter. Wigginton also has played 38 games in left field in his career. Wigginton is a .277 career hitter with 143 home runs and 501 RBIs in 1,060 career games

 

If the deal becomes official, the Rockies will have filled the holes that opened when the team didn’t re-sign Melvin Mora, who signed with the D-backs on Monday, and Jason Giambi, who backed Helton at first base last season but was a left-handed hitter and not an ideal choice when the Rockies faced a difficult left-handed hitter.  The Rockies traded with the Mariners for right-handed hitting infielder Jose Lopez last week.

 

Wigginton has played for the Mets, Rays, Pirates, Astros and Orioles.

 

The Rockies list of utility possibilities also includes Jorge Cantu and Jeff Francoeur. The team lost out on catcher-first baseman Victor Martinez, who signed with the Tigers, and first baseman-outfielder Lance Berkman, who signed with the Cardinals.

Plenty of baseball left for Melvin Mora

Nice bit of news Monday at the Winter Meetings…Melvn Mora agreed to a one-year deal with the D-backs.

The Orioles didn’t bring him back after the 2009 season, after several years of distinction, mostly at third base. Mora felt he could extend his career by becoming a utility player, and he had a nice year for the Rockies doing it last year (.285, 7 HR, 45 RBIs in 354 plate appearances). Before leaving at the end of the season, he expressed appreciation to the Rockies for giving him a chance to revisit his versatility. Before establishing himself with the Orioles, he played multiple positions with the Mets.

“I enjoyed what I did here … it was an exciting year for me,” said Mora, who played first base, second base, third base and left field. “I thank [Rockies manager] Jim Tracy for teaching me to play first base.

“It was great for me to do my exactly what the manager wanted me to do, and do it right.”

Mora, who turns 39 on Feb. 2, has thoughts beyond 2011.

“I want to play through at least the next World Baseball Classic, 2012,” said Mora, who wants to represent Venezuela. “After that, we’ll talk about it.”

Free agent Jorge Cantu is a candidate to fill the role Mora filled with the Rockies. The Rockies also could trade to fill the spot, with Angels catcher-first baseman Mike Napoli and Nationals cornerman Josh Willingham among the reported possibilities.

 

 

Young previews excitement, shows growing pains

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.”

Francis has bright spots in rough start

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.

 

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.”

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.

 

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.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.