Results tagged ‘ Taylor Buchholz ’

A good stopping point …

– Saturday’s no-hitter by Ubaldo Jimenez against the Braves was the obvious high point, but Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the Braves is a better illustration of where the Rockies stand. They didn’t do enough to win. Sometimes when this happens, they win, anyhow. Sunday, they didn’t.

Five hits from an offense that has been sporadic and 11 walks from pitching that has generally performed well were a recipe for disaster. Yet, the Rockies didn’t give the game away until closer Franklin Morales couldn’t throw strikes consistently in the ninth inning.

Sometimes things go wrong and they win. Sunday, many things went wrong and they almost won. Manager Jim Tracy has been noting all weekend that he ability to stay in or pull out games while not necessarily playing well is encouraging, since it means the club is capable of catching fire.

– The power and situational hitting have come and gone. The team hasn’t been consistently effective on the bases. Errors defensively have been a concern. Which area will begin to perform better first?

I believe the defense has become better. And defense is the one area that can turn hot and not cool. The Rockies made all the plays necessary behind Jimenez during the no-hitter, and performed well Sunday. Not making mistakes makes a team solid, and the Rockies are headed in that direction. The difference between solid and spectacular is taking advantage of chances the be spectacular, the way Dexter Fowler made plays behind Jimenez and the way Carlos Gonzalez did Sunday in throwing out Melky Cabrera at the plate from right field.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has made some highlight reel plays, but in other cases he’s almost made them. That should change. I also believe third baseman Ian Stewart, who has had some questionable throws, needs one or two eye-popping plays to settle him and make him more consistently.

– It may be too soon but I don’t think I’m out of line for wondering … How would the lineup perform with Stewart, a power threat, in the No. 3 position, and first Todd Helton in the No. 7 hole?

– I like the way right fielder Brad Hawpe has swung the bat. I also like the way the team is monitoring his playing time. For me, it comes to this unscientific explanation: Hawpe is a big, strong fellow whose body type may be more suited for first base than the outfield. His recent quadriceps injury occurred after a swing, but the place to watch him is in the outfield, especially when he has a lot of activity. Nagging aches are unavoidable, but keep them under control and he’ll produce from April to September. This is an underrated star. 

– Although Morales has had a rough patch, I like he way the bullpen has performed. It it can maintain some consistency, imagine how much stronger it should be when right-handers Huston Street and Taylor Buchholz return.

– The rotation has been solid. Three keys could take it beyond that. 1. Jason Hammel must find some consistency. It’s early, so it’s not time to panic. 2. Greg Smith has shown a capacity to make the pitch he needs to keep situations from becoming messy, but he’ll be better if he can throw well-located strikes early in counts. 3. Aaron Cook hasn’t found his sinker. I was left intrigued by his last outing, when he relied on breaking balls and gave the team a chance to win against the Mets. Will he reach a stage where he’ll dominate with the sinker for a number of outings in a row, or will a good percentage of his outings be ones where he has to be creative?

Hey, folks, these are more Monday morning thoughts, not super observations. Where do you think the Rockies are, and how can they be better?

Doggone! Buchholz takes next step in comeback

Friday was a big one for Rockies righty reliever Taylor Buchholz. He faced hitters for the first time since last Spring Training. That was when he suffered an elbow injury that eventually required Tommy John ligament transfer surgery.

 

Reaching a milestone in a comeback that appears to be ahead of schedule, something else big happened.

 

He got a new dog!

 

Well, the dog might not be good news. He doesn’t exactly want one. We’ll explain that later.

 

But Buchholz was all smiles after his 25-pitch session against a mix of hitters. He threw fastballs for all but six pitches, which were changeups.

 

It’s still awhile before Buchholz will make it back to the Majors. He’ll more than likely need a month in extended spring training, then he can work his way back to the Majors. But no one expected him to be facing hitters at this point.

 

Buchholz had a career year in 2008, posting a 2.17 ERA in 63 appearances as the Rockies’ primary right-handed setup man.

 

“I was very happy with it – it went about as well as I can imagine,” Buchholz said. “I felt under control. I felt normal, which is about all I can ask for going out there for the first time.”

 

Buchholz will throw another bullpen on Monday and begin mixing in three or four curveballs per session.

 

“When I can throw my curveball with the intensity that I’ve done in the past, that’ll be a good day,” he said.

 

Little did Buchholz know, but an omen pointed to his day being different and special. Buchholz and his wife, Ashley, have a bull terrier and a Pomeranian. But on Friday morning, Ashley was walking the dogs in a nearby park when a cocker spaniel began following them, and didn’t stop.

 

Folks began entering the clubhouse, telling Buchholz he has a new dog. After several folks informed him, he asked, “Is this a joke or something.” Then Ashley sent him pictures.”

 

“I hope we don’t have three dogs right now,” Buchholz said. “I can’t handle three dogs. I guess he’s adopted us, followed her the whole way around.”

 

Maybe with each milestone in his comeback, a new dog will appear.

 

“That’s not happening,” he said.

Notes: De La Rosa wants to stay

Here are some early Spring Training thoughts:

– Lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who led the Rockies in wins last season with 16, can become a free agent at season’s end. De La Rosa said his ambition is to have a strong year to earn the right to stay with Colorado. 

– Left-hander Jeff Francis not only is healthy after missing last year with shoulder problems, but he’s actually ahead of many of the other pitchers because of the intense offseason work. Francis faced hitters in the Dominican Republic a few weeks ago.

– Righty Greg Reynolds, the team’s top pick in the 2006 Draft, underwent surgery after the season to correct an issue with his labrum. Almost amazingly so, Reynolds is healthy enough to begin the spring without restrictions. Pitching coach Bob Apodaca said Reynolds’ motion — which the club believes was at the root of his troubles — has cleaned up considerably.

– The Rockies will have 32 pitchers in camp. Righty Taylor Buchholz, who underwent Tommy John elbow ligament transfer surgery last season and hopes to return to the Majors in June, is the only pitcher not healthy enough to be a factor.

Apodaca said right-handed reliever Casey Weathers, the top pick in 2007, was not invited to Major League camp so he could have a little more time to make sure his elbow is healthy. Weathers missed last season because of Tommy John surgery.

– Lefty Christian Friedrich, the team’s top choice in 2008, said being invited to this camp gives him the opportunity to closely study Francis’ delivery.

 

Throwing a man a bone

Rockies right-hander Taylor Buchholz underwent Tommy John ligament transfer surgery on his right elbow on Wednesday. Rockies manager Jim Tracy discussed the surgery with Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger, who told him Buchholz received a surprise.

“As to the state that the ligament was in, there was a piece of bone actually growing into the ligament,” Tracy said. “Apparently, what ‘Doogie’ had said to me was the doctor maintained the fragment and gave it to him, just so he could see it.”

– In a lineup stacked with right-handed hitters, Garrett Atkins gets the start at third base instead of left-handed hitting ian Stewart.

Atkins, in spot duty, has been on base in six of his last 12 plate appearances, and is on a 6-for-12 run against lefty pitchers.

“Here’s an opportunity to see where he’s at, and let him know something that I looked him in the eye and told him in St. Louis, ‘Unless you quit on yourself, I’m not going to quit on you,’” Tracy said. “You’ve got to find spots to put him in there.”

Tracy said he wants to play Atkins enough to get his “pilot light burning all the way up, instead of some of the flickers we see periodically.”

 

– Here are lineups for Wednesday night’s game against the Rays:

Rays

B.J. Upton, CF

Carl Crawford, LF

Evan Longoria, 3B

Carlos Pena, 1B

Ben Zobrist, 2B

Pat Burrell, RF

Jason Bartlett, SS

Michel Hernandez, C

David Price, P

Rockies

Dexter Fowler, CF

Clint Barmes, 2B

Todd Helton, 1B

Garrett Atkins, 3B

Brad Hawpe, RF

Ryan Spilborghs, LF

Troy Tulowitzki, SS

Chris Iannetta, C

Aaron Cook, P

More injuries … and, OK, some good news

Right-handed reliever Taylor Buchholz will miss 4-6 weeks for with a strained ulnar collateral tendon in his throwing elbow. Also, the Rockies scratched third baseman Garrett Atkins from the lineup for Thursday’s exhibition game with Mexico because of a strained right hip flexor. Christian Colonel replaced him.

Now for good news:

Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez pitched three scoreless innings with four srikeouts, and two hits, for the Dominican Republic’s World Baseball Classic team against the Cardinals on Thursday.

New week, new pitching schedule

Here is the Rockies’ pitching schedule for the week:

Monday vs. Angels at Hi Corbett Field: Franklin Morales, Huston Street, Jason Hirsh, Juan Morillo and Esmil Rogers.

Tuesday at Brewers at Mayvale Baseball Park (Phoenix): Greg Smith, Alan Embree, Greg Reynolds, Ran Mattheus.

Wednesday, “B” game vs. D-backs: Jason Marquis, Glendon Rusch, Josh Fogg, Huston Street, Taylor Buchholz, Ryan Speier.

Thursday, exhibition vs. Team Mexico (World Baseball Classic) at Hi Corbett Field: Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Brandon Hynick, Shane Lindsay, Steven Register.

Friday vs. Padres at Peoria: Aaron Cook, Huston Street, Alan Embree, Taylor Buchholz, Ryan Mattheus, Esmil Rogers.

Saturday vs. Giants at Scottsdale: Jason Hish, Ryan Speier, Franklin Morales.

To recap, here are the players who are missing because of the World Baseball Classic: catcher Chris Iannetta (Team USA), right-handed starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (Dominican Republic), right-handed closer Manuel Corpas (Panama), right-handed reliever Jason Grilli (Italy) and Minor League right-handed reliever Adam Bright (Australia). Right fielder Brad Hawpe would have played for the U.S., but he suffered a lacerated pinkie on his left (throwing) hand Friday that required four stitches.

Lineup time … and welcome to the Ranter

Left fielder Seth Smith, who has received so many kudos from the Rockies about his swing that he’s getting a chance to start this year, will hit from the No. 2 spot in Wednesday afternoon’s Spring Training opener against the D-Backs. Also, with first baseman Todd Helton not yet ready for regular action (he was spotted heading for a workout and hitting session), Brad Hawpe takes the No. 3 spot in the order. Garrett Atkins will bat cleanup and Troy Tulowitzki, whi hit second and seventh last season, is batting fifth.

Here’s the lineup in its entirety:

Ryan Spilborghs   CF

Seth Smith           LF

Brad Hawpe         RF

Garrett Atkins      3B

Troy Tulowitzki     SS

Chris Iannetta        C

Joe Koshansky    1B

Clint Barmes        2B

Aaron Cook           P

 

I pulled up to Hi Corbett Field this morning and saw, in all its glory and splendor, The Rockpile Ranter’s Mobile Blog Unit. Welcome to Tucson. I’d have taken a picture, but I was afraid that a security force would have apprehended me. But now that my intentions are known, a snapshot shouldn’t be a problem. Should it?

– Here’s a little more: today’s pitching schedule.

Cook (two innings)

Ubaldo Jimenez (2)

Manuel Corpas (1)

Alan Embree (1)

Juan Morillo (1)

Jason Grilli (1)

Ryan Mattheus (1)

Here is pitching schedule for tomorrow against the White Sox.

Jason Hirsh (two innings)

Franklin Morales (2)

Taylor Buchholz (1)

Huston Street (1)

Cedrick Bowers (1)

Shane Lindsay (1)

Ryan Speier (1)

Pitchng schedules are always subject to change, of course.

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