Results tagged ‘ Scott Podsednik ’

Spilborghs and the leadoff options

Center fielder Ryan Spilborghs has had a strong last two Cactus League games with the bat. Both were against the Padres. He had a nice hit-and-run single and another hit Friday, and on Sunday had two doubles and a single in three at-bats on Sunday. Those were good developments for Spilborghs, who has had to deal wih the death of his mother during Spring Training.

“He’s still got a lot of at-bats to work on,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “It’s just as important to get out three and track some balls in the outfield. [Sunday] was a good day for him. He caught the barrel with some balls and hit balls really hard.”

 

Spilborghs, who is in line to be the leadoff hitter, is batting .313 with a .353 on-base percentage.

The leadoff position is an area of focus for the Rockies.

They should be in good shape with Spilborghs, who had a .363 on-base percentage last season. However, he will not start 162 games. The most experienced option is non-roster outfielder Scott Podsednik. The Rockies are giving him and others some looks atop the lineup.

Keeping in mind that all hitters were operating under strict orders to extend at-bats at the very start of games, here is how Rockies starting leadoff men have performed this spring:

– Spilborghs: two starts, 0-for-6

– Podsednik: five starts, 4-for-17,  1 RBI, four runs, two steals

– Eric Young Jr.: two starts, 1-for-1, one steal

– Carlos Gonzalez, one start, 0-for-3, two runs, one walk

– Dexter Fowler, one start, 0-for-4

That makes the leadoff men 5-for-38 with six runs, two RBIs.

You figure that Young and Fowler are not expeced to be factors at the Major League level to start the season. The ability to hit at the top of the order enhances Podsednik’s chances to make the team as a non-roster guy for the second year in a row.

Gonzalez, one of three-players obtained from the Athletics for outfielder Matt Holliday, offers some intrigue. He has tremendous tools, but strikeouts were a problem during his callup with the Athletics last season. Would it be worthwhile to send him to Triple-A Colorado Springs at the beginning of the season to work on being a leadoff man?

The other possibility is second baseman Clint Barmes, who has done it before in the Majors and done it with success in the Minors. But he’d have to improve his on-base rate. Last season, Barmes batted .290 but had just a .301 on-base percentage. Hurdle and the staff have Barmes working on developing a more discerning eye at the plate.

Hurdle said Sunday that he’ll hone in on his leadoff strategy during the final three weeks of camp.

 

Comforting a teammate …

Center fielder Ryan Spilborghs was back at Hi Corbett Field on Sunday morning. He had left camp to be with his family after his mother, Essie, died on Friday.

Spilborghs had plenty of friends to help comfort him.

The Rockies played the Indians at Goodyear, Ariz. But shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who originally was supposed to make the trip, stayed back and worked out with Spilborghs and the other teammates. This was a case when something else was more important than a few innings of an exhibition game.

Here is Sunday’s lineup:

Scott Podsednik            CF

Clint Barmes                 SS

Seth Smith                    LF

Garrett Atkins                3B

Matt Miller                     DH

Carlos Gonzalez            CF

Sal Fasano                     C

Jonathan Herrera           2B

Omar Quintanilla           3B

Right-hander Aaron Cook is pitching. Also, righty Ubaldo Jimenez is making his last appearance before leaving to join the Dominican Republic team for the World Baseball Classic. 

Lineups are in, Baker is out

The Rockies put up a lineup for this afternoon against the Dodgers, and already have a change. Jeff Baker was supposed to be designated hitter, but he was scratched for Matt Murton because of tenderness in his right elbow.

Speaking of injuries, third baseman-outfielder Ian Stewart said he is gradually healing from a left biceps strain he suffered while swinging before Thursday’s game. Stewart said he is hoping to return to the batting cage on Sunday.

So here’s today’s lineup:

Eric Young Jr.            2B

Scott Podsednik        LF

Troy Tulowitzki          SS

Matt Murton              DH

Yorvit Torrealba          C

Daniel Ortmeier        1B

Carlos Gonzalez       CF

Christian Colonel      RF

Jason Marquis          P

Jorge De La Rosa and Josh Fogg also are schedueld to throw two innings apiece.

Opportunity awaits Gonzalez

Rockies outfielders Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez sit atop prop prospect lists. This year, Fowler generally occupies a higher rung than Gonzalez, partly because Gonzales had a much more meaningful run in the Majors last season. The Athletics used Gonzalez regularly for part of last season. Fowler received merely a few September at-bats.

But when it comes to making the Rockies’ roster out of Spring Training, experience is a benefit, not a curse.

Fowler is widely assumed to be headed to Triple-A Colorado Springs to begin the season. Gonzalez has an option left, and the Rockies have already declared their three outfielders atop the depth chart — Seth Smith in left, Ryan Spilborghs in center and Brad Hawpe in right. But manager Clint Hurdle is entering the season wanting to give Gonzalez every opportunity to impress him this spring.

“There won’t be a nurturing, coddling, holding his hand through it, like a Rule 5 guy you might go get and try and protect through the season,” Hurdle said. “He’s got some experience. He needs to play. There’s got to be reps. There’s got to be at-bats available.

“There’s that fine line, whether it’s 400 Minor League at-bats versus 300 [in the Majors]. I don’t know. If the numbers are workable, he can add a significant value to our club, whether it be playing a couple of outfield positions as a left-handed bat with some speed.”

Translated, the Rockies feel they’ll be at their best if Gonzalez is pushing Smith and Spilborghs for their starting jobs.

Right-handed hitting Matt Murton and left-handed hitters Daniel Ortmeier and Scott Podsednik are in the mix for backup outfield jobs, as well. Third baseman Ian Stewart will get a look in left field, utility man Jeff Baker has some experience in the outfield, and second baseman Clint Barmes is capable of going to the outfield. Hurdle sees him as only an emergency outfielder, but he said some in the organization believe Barmes could handle extended duty out there.

– As part of the execution emphasis, the Rockies are rating every hitting drill and posting the scores. There are 10 rounds based on hitting tasks — various bunts, driving in a runner from third, hit-and-run. Each exercise is given assigned a maximum point total. A score of 38 through nine rounds is considered perfect, then three is a bonus base-hit round. Sunday, for example, Gonzalez, shotstop Troy Tulowitzki and catcher Edwin Bellorin had the highest individual scores. Also, the team is divided into three groups, and the total number of points for each group is kept. Players are crowding in front of the whiteboard in the clubhosue to see their scores.

– The Rockies are planning an intrasquad game on Tuesday morning. They open their Cactus League schedule Wednesday at Hi Corbett Field against the D-backs.

– The early part of Sunday’s workout was devoted to a spirited “ragball” tournament. They used a machine to shoot beanbag-like balls at a pitcher completing a windup. Right-handed prospect Jhoulys Chacin won his group. Video coordinator Brian Jones won the contest involving staff members.

Manager Clint Hurdle had injury concerns, but signed off on the exercise in the name of team cohesiveness.

“There have been a number of things the guys have had a lot of fun with,” Hurdle said. “That might be at the top of the list right now.

– Left-handed veteran reliever Alan Embree left camp after Saturday’s workout to take care of a personal matter, and will be back in “a couple of days,” Hurdle said Sunday.

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