Results tagged ‘ Nationals ’

Rockies Apodaca asked to be reassigned, MLB.com has learned

DENVER — Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca has asked to be reassigned and the club granted him the request on Tuesday, MLB.com has learned.

The Rockies have yet to make a formal announcement. Sources with knowledge of the situation said Apodaca, pitching coach since 2003 — the first full year that Clint Hurdle managed the Rockies — made the request. Apodaca, 63, has yet to address the situation.

Apodaca, who remained the Rockies’ pitching coach after Jim Tracy took over during the 2009 season, was in street clothes in the Rockies’ coaching office while bullpen coach Jim Wright oversaw Juan Nicasio facing hitters at Coors Field. Nicasio is coming back from a strained left knee.

The Rockies rank last in baseball with a 5.29 ERA and the team is 28-44. Since last week, the club has gone to an unusual four-man pitching rotation under which starters are limited to 75 pitches. It’s an idea that has been discussed for several years at several points by the front office. Extreme difficulty pitching at home and short, ineffective work by the starters, brought about the implementation of the idea a week ago in Philadelphia.

Results have been mixed. Jeff Francis has had two strong starts in victories, but Alex White has pitched himself to a demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs, Christian Friedrich (who was to start Tuesday night against the Nationals) lost Friday against Texas in his first start under the new system, and Josh Outman couldn’t make it through five innings despite being given an early 10-run lead in the team’s win at Texas on Saturday.

Currently, there are three injured starting pitchers – lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who underwent Tommy John elbow surgery last year; righty Jhoulys Chacin, who struggled before a nerve issue in his chest was discovered, and Nicasio. Additionally, right-hander Jeremy Guthrie was the Opening Day starter but he struggled so much in 11 starts (3-6, 7.20 ERA) that he was moved to the bullpen, where he has pitched well in long relief.

In another surprise move, the Rockies apparently have called up star Double-A lefty Edwar Cabrera, who had earned an invitation to the Sirius XM Futures game during All-Star weekend and last year led all of Minor League Baseball with 174 strikeouts. Cabrera is in line to start Wednesday against the Nationals.

Under Apodaca, the Rockies went to the World Series in 2007, had five 10-game winners in 2009 for the first time in club history and set club ERA marks in 2007 (4.32) and 2010 (4.22). The team has struggled on and off trying to find a way to thrive at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Since 2002, the baseballs have been stored in an atmosphere-controlled chamber to keep them from shrinking and becoming slippery in the mile-high atmosphere.

Apodaca previously served as pitching coach with the Mets and the Brewers.

More to come on MLB.com.

Stand up and cheer Juan Nicasio

Opening Day is always special, but fans at Coors Field saved their special level of noise and joy for when right-handed pitcher Juan Nicasio was introduced. Nicasio, standing along the first-base line, stepped forward, doffed his cap and truly took in the appreciation.

We expect there will be another roar tonight, but Nicasio might be trying too hard to concentrate to acknowledge as fully. But folks will understand.

For the first time since last Aug. 5, when the Nationals’ Ian Desmond’s line drive bounced off his head and left him with a fractured skill and a broken C-1 vertebrae, Nicasio will be pitching at Coors when he faces the D-backs tonight at 6:40.

“I’ve been thinking about how it’s going to be like when I pitch my first game here,” Nicasio said Thursday. “I’m excited.”

The dramatic comeback story is enhanced by the fact Nicasio has become an important cog in the rotation. In his first start, at Houston on Sunday, Nicasio limited the Astros to one run and four hits in seven innings.

Although his last experience at Coors was horrifying, it’s been a good place for him. After being called up from Double-A tulsa last year, Nicasio went 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 41 innings at home.

What a homecoming this will be.

Rockies lineup

Scutaro 2B

Dexter Fowler, CF

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Todd Helton, 1B

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Ramon Hernandez, C

Chris Nelson, 3B

Juan Nicasio, P

Nicasio to pitch against Athletics; Smith not making trip

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio, coming back from a broken neck that he suffered last year, gets his first Cactus League outing today against the Athletics at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Nicasio threw two impressive innings in an intrasquad game on Sunday. Listen free to an exclusive webcast.

Nicasio has insisted all along he has no fear of balls coming back to him. He suffered the frightening injury last Aug. 5, when a line drive from the Nationals’ Ian Desmond struck him in the temple.

Interestingly, the Athletics have agreed to forego the designated hitter, so Nicasio will also have to bat.

For the second time this spring, the Rockies are starting Charlie Blackmon in the leadoff spot. Blackmon, batting for the fourth outfield spot, homered off the Giants’ Tim Lincecum on Wednesday. Also, catching prospect Wilin Rosario will start.

The Athletics are not bringing former Rockies outfielder Seth Smith, who was sent to Oakland during the offseason for pitchers Guillermo Moscoso and Josh Outman.

Here are the lineups:

ROCKIES BATTING ORDER

Charlie Blackmon, CF

Marco Scutaro, 2B

Carlos Gonzalez, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Michael Cuddyer, RF

Casey Blake, 3B

Wilin Rosario, C

Juan Nicasio, P

ROCKIES SCHEDULED RELIEVERS

Tyler Chatwood, RHP

Edwar Cabrera, LHP

Rafael Betancourt, RHP

Stephen Dodson, RHP

ATHLETICS BATTING ORDER

Jemile Weeks, 2B

Eric Sogard, SS

Coco Crisp, CF

Josh Reddick, RF

Kurt Suzuki, C

Brandon Allen, 1B

Josh Donaldson, 3B

Brandon Moss, LF

Brandon McCarthy, RHP

ATHLETICS SCHEDULED RELIEVERS

Jerry Blevins, LHP

Andrew Carignan, RHP

Grant Balfour, RHP

Fabio Castro, LHP

Rockies hot stove is on simmer

The general managers meetings in Florida offer a good time for teams to survey the free-agent landscape. And according to the Denver Post, things are about as expected with left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, a player the Rockies want to keep. Interest is strong: former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle has taken over the Pirates and identified De La Rosa as his top target, according to the newspaper, and the Nationals, as reported by MLB.com’s Bill Ladson last week, and Orioles are already in the mix. The Yankees and Rangers could jump in, depending on what happens with lefty Cliff Lee. The paper says the key, as has been the case all along, is if the offers are at three years, the Rockies will compete — and they offer an environment in which De La Rosa has been successful. If it goes beyond three years, De La Rosa is likely gone, and the Rockies could look for a free agent such as Carl Pavano or Javier Vazquez, or seek a trade.

The paper also reported that the Rockies are unlikely to re-sign right-handed hitting utility man Melvin Mora, who wants a contract quicker than the Rockies want to move on him. With the Athletics not looking to trade Conor Jackson, the Rockies could take a look at the Nationals’ Josh Willingham or the Angels’ Mike Napoli for right-handed hitting help.

 

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