Results tagged ‘ Troy Tulowitzki ’
DENVER — The Rockies and left-handed hitting utility infielder DanielDescalso have reached an agreement on a two-year contract on Tuesday. ESPN, citing agent Steve Cantor, reported the deal to be worth $3.6 million.
Descalso had spent his entire career with the Cardinals (2010-14), and last season batted .242 with no home runs and 10 RBIs. He is a career .243 hitter with a .313 on-base percentage, 10 home runs and 111 RBIs in 529 games. The Cardinals non-tendered him this winter. Descalso, 28, also brings 44 games of postseason experience.
The Rockies see Descalso as a left-handed hitting spot-starter who can play second base, third base and shortstop, and has limited experience (nine games, three starts) at first base. The regulars at the positions – DJ LeMahieu, Nolan Arenado and Troy Tulowitzki, are all right-handed hitters. Descalso has played in 200 games (91 starts) at third, 174 games (110 starts) at second and 114 games (88 starts) at short.
The Rockies needed infield depth after trading Josh Rutledge to the Angels for right-handed relief pitcher Jairo Diaz last week.
To learn more about Descalso, he will be available to fans via Twitter:
Michael Cuddyer understood that whether he re-signed with the Rockies or took a free-agent offer from the Mets, he would be a part of a team wanting to make the immediate jump from also-ran in 2014 to contender in 2015. In the end, he preferred to make that leap on the East Coast.
It’s likely Cuddyer left money on the table with the decision. Had he accepted the Rockies’ qualifying offer, he’d have been paid $15.3 million for 2015 with another shot at free agency at season’s end. With the Mets, he’ll get $22 million over two years, including $8.5 million in 2015.
“I think you don’t see that often in sports, but this wasn’t about the money,” Cuddyer said. “That shows the importance I placed on playing for an organization like the Mets and coming back to the East Coast, which is more like home. Looking at who the Mets are and where they are with their talent, it was a good fit.”
Cuddyer, who will turn 36 in March, is from Chesapeake, Va. He is a long time friend of another product of that area, Mets third baseman David Wright.
It’s an interesting comparison. Which team is closer? Is it the Mets, whose pitching includes National League Rookie of the Year Jacob de Grom and the return to health of Matt Harvey? Or is a better bet than the Rockies, who have unquestioned offensive prowess when healthy? Looking at it objectively, Cuddyer helps fill a major offensive hole for the Mets. Even with Cuddyer, the Rockies still have to address their pitching.
But Cuddyer did not want to leave saying anything unfavorable about the Rockies’ future prospects.
“I still believe what I said at the end of the year as far as the Rockies being close talent-wise, with their position players and with the talent they have in their pitching staff,” Cuddyer said. “By all means, I still believe in the Rockies. It’s just that I looked at the Mets with what they have, with Harvey coming back and the years that some of the other guys had, and coupled that with the fact they’re on the East Coast. It was nothing the Rockies did or didn’t do.”
Cuddyer said he’ll leave Colorado with fond memories.
“Winning a batting title and starting in the All-Star Game [interestingly at Citi Field, where he also participated in the Chevrolet Home Run Derby] made 2013 an extremely special year, not only for me but for my family as well,” Cuddyer said. “None of that would’ve happened without me going there.
“Playing for the Rockies helped me hone my approach at the plate. I was able to watch ‘Tulo’ [Troy Tulowitzki] and ‘CarGo’ [Carlos Gonzalez] and take bits and pieces from both of those guys, and apply it to my physical and mental approach. I especially learned from ‘Tulo,’ and the way he went after every at-bat. It made me better to play every day with him.
“It was a tough decision, no doubt about that. I’m leaving a lot of great friends and a lot of great relationships, not only teammates but staff, trainers, clubbies, front office and ownership. The way the Rockies treated my family and me showed that they really cared.”
New general manager Jeff Bridich, manager Walt Weiss and the front office he has put together are making quick work of assessing the Rockies’ roster. With the general managers meetings starting Monday in Phoenix, they must be prepared for talks with other clubs and negotiations with potential free agents.
I have no money for free agents. My front office staff consists of the birds and squirrels running around the neighborhood. So I’ll take some time to dig through the roster and bounce the ideas off you, the fans. Feel free to spend your lunch break (well, your work time, but we’ll keep that between us) walking through the tough Rockies questions with me.
Feel free to comment on Twitter: @harding_at_mlb
WARNING: There’s a lot here. The squirrels and birds crunched numbers and presented many scenarios. They’ve got a future in management.
Let’s look at the key question.
What type of pitching do the Rockies need to contend now and in the future?
Their last two playoff appearances could offer guidelines.
The Rockies went to the 2007 World Series based on pitching depth. They lost three of their five starters in August, and changed closers during the season, but developed and acquired good enough parts to stay in the race and win the National League Wild Card.
In 2009, they earned the NL Wild Card based on health and quality — five guys made all but eight starts, which mean they were whole enough and good enough to keep taking the ball. There was enough bullpen strength to withstand second-half injuries to lefty Alan Embree and closer Huston Street.
So, as trade rumors fly, it all comes back to the question: How close is Rockies’ pitching staff to the depth of 2007 and the quality of 2009?
That explains why the Rockies are listening to offers, not only for veteran first baseman Justin Morneau but for the very top guys on their payroll, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.
Let’s look at the rotation as it stands as the Rockies attempt to leap from 66-96 to contentions in the NL West:
• Lefty Jorge De La Rosa is the clear leader. He’s by no means the equal of the front of the rotations of the defending NL West champion Dodgers or the World Series champ Giants, but not many folks can say they’ve thrived at Coors the way De La Rosa has.
• Righty Jhoulys Chacin saw his 2014 limited to 11 starts by issues with his rotator cuff and labrum. Chacin, the club and doctors decided on rehab and strengthening rather than surgery. Success of the decision will depend on the effectiveness of his rehab, diligent maintenance and, to some degree, good fortune. Not impossible, but it’s a lot.
• Righty Jordan Lyles and lefty Tyler Matzek, each 24, showed ability in their first seasons in Purple Pinstripes. Lyles went in with big-league time with the Astros. Matzek was making his debut. Can they go from developing talents to stalwarts? Once again, it’s asking a lot, but it’s not impossible.
• Beyond those four, there are options but none that compare to the competition. Righty Christian Bergman has more heart than stuff, but is promising because of his brainpower and competitiveness. The prospects behind him all have questions. Righty Eddie Butler’s debut year was spoiled by shoulder pain. Righty prospect Jon Gray is coming off his first full pro season, and the Rockies were careful with him because of fatigue at the end. Lefty prospect Tyler Anderson finished the year with an elbow issue that he’s trying to rehab over the winter.
Now, let’s look at the bullpen:
• Ageless LaTroy Hawkins returns as closer. With no big changes, it’s the same plan as last year – hope another option develops so Hawkins can pitch earlier in games.
• Righty Adam Ottavino overcame a month of struggles impressively enough last season that the Rockies see a bright future. There’s still the need to improve against left-handed hitters. Who knows? Maybe if he finds the magic against lefties, he could slide into the ninth inning.
• Lefty Rex Brothers went from a dazzling year in 2013 to a simply awful one in 2014. Part o the problem was the workload that fell to him when lefty Boone Logan was hampered by elbow issues throughout the first year of his three-year contract. The Rockies need rebounds from both.
• Righty Tommy Kahnle stuck out the full year as a Rule 5 Draft pick and showed a workable fastball-changeup mix. He’ll need to take this year’s experience and show greater savvy to earn an increased role.
• Beyond that are guys trying to establish themselves. Righty Brooks Brown’s control and ability to change speeds during his callups put him ahead of many pitchers who were on the staff the full year. The Rockies also hope for progress righty Juan Nicasio and lefty Christian Friedrich, who struggled as starters and were moved to the bullpen.
Weigh the dependable parts, the hopefuls and the holes, and you get a pitching staff that needs several quality pitchers in the rotation and the bullpen. Given that, how possible is it for the Rockies to contend in 2015? Are they prepared if they don’t content?
A fine piece yesterday from Dave Cameron of Fangraphs suggests that extending the $15.3 million qualifying offer to first baseman-outfielder Michael Cuddyer could be construed as part of rebuilding rather than an attempt to hold the current lineup together. Cuddyer gets a nice payday, and if the Rockies are struggling at the deadline he could be dealt.
But these are the Major Leagues, where the majority of teams are in position to at least dream at the deadline. While there is a future to contend with, I and the wildlife outside my door want the Rockies to have a fighting chance in the present.
So here are some questions:
•Say the Rockies hold a strong lineup together and hold onto their big multi-year contracts, Tulowitzki and Gonzalez. They could hope to receive a solid veteran for the starting rotation for Morneau. Then they could go bargain hunting via free agency for another starter – say righty Justin Masterson, who is trying to rebuild his value after a rough 2014, or lefty Brett Anderson or righty Aaron Harang, who have proven ability but questionable health histories.
•Say the Rockies push hard to deal Tulowitzki and Gonzalez. Both are coming off shortened seasons because of surgeries, which might give other teams pause. The Rockies have said they will listen, and have given indications that clubs would have to make offers based on the players if healthy. Can they expect to receive star players who can rebuild the team?
•Let’s say the Rockies seek immediate payroll relief, rather than star-for-star deals or situations where they’re eating huge portions of the salaries of Tulowitkzi and Gonzalez. This is where the dreams get big.
With the money saved, maybe they can’t land any of the big three free-agent starters — James Shields, Max Scherzer or Jon Lester — and second-tier starters such as Ervin Santana and Brandon McCarthy could be risky propositions at Coors Field. But how about catcher Russell Martin, who could have strong offense at Coors and help the young starters? How about a big offer to righty reliever Andrew Miller, who could be the closer immediately? Righty setup Luke Gregerson pitched for the Athletics last year, but he has a long history in the NL West based on his days with the Padres.
All this leaves the Rockies with tough decisions.
The feeling has been they want one more run with their lineup core, only with some pitching added. They will have to believe they can acquire enough pitching through dealing not just Morneau but two arbitration-eligible chips – catcher Wilin Rosario, who could be a fit as a catcher-designated hitter in the American League, and outfielder Drew Stubbs, who recaptured some of his run-producing potential with the Rockies.
To succeed, such a plan has to have the Rockies stay healthy in the rotation, contend enough to be able to make trades at next summer’s non-waiver Trade Deadline, and finish the year with a roster and payroll capable of succeeding in future years.
All this makes the big trade sounds attractive, but there are risks.
Any deal involving Tulowitzki or Gonzalez would leave a big hole. When healthy, they not only are All-Stars and offensive threats, but they’re Gold Glove Award types. Also, if the Rockies don’t eat salary, the return might be less than if they were more willing in that regard. They’d have to count on any position player having his stats enhanced at Coors Field, and any young pitcher being an immediate help — an iffy proposition, based on history.
Should the Rockies take the plunge and deal Tulowitkzi or Gonzalez, or both, they key is not stopping there. Some of the players who come in a trade may have to be spun to other teams, especially if they use hitting prospects they receive to pull in pitchers.
— Thomas Harding
Disclaimer: No indication Rockies owner can be swayed into dealing Tulo … Still, team has to be prepared if talks occur
We preface everything here with the simple statement, based on conversations with sources inside and outside the Rockies organization:
Owner Dick Monfort has no interest in trading shortstop Troy Tulowitzki at Thursday afternoon’s non-waiver Trade Deadline. The belief that a healthy Rockies club, with an improved rotation and a bullpen overhaul, is a winner next season means odds are against Monfort moving Tulowitzki — signed for extreme riches through 2020 — this offseason.
But the way to not get caught off guard is to be prepared, even if you know nothing may happen.
In the days leading to the Trade Deadline, the Rockies are getting ready for the magic phone call, even if it’s not coming.
The Rockies spent much of Monday studying the Mets organization, looking at current Major Leaguers and prospects, and gauging the abilities of young pitchers who have not reached their arbitration years. Any Mets pitcher who is anyone, whether he is working in Queens – like National League Rookie of the Year candidate Jacob deGrom – or prospects such as righty Noah Syndergaard (No. 1 on the MLB.com Mets Top 20 Prospects list) or Rafael Montero (No. 6), the Rockies are prepared to discuss. If the names of numerous position players come up, the Rockies are prepared.
But here’s the thing. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson on Monday said it is “unlikely” the team will make any deal, and sources throughout the game are saying it’s unlikely anything serious will occur with the Rockies. And, as can’t be stated enough, it’s all fantasy unless Monfort changes his belief that the Rockies will win with Tulowitzki.
But that’s the way these things work. Oh, it’s not only the Mets. We hear the Rockies have beefed up their knowledge on the Cardinals and the Angels – two teams with the money and Major League-ready players to make the Rockies’ baseball people at least listen if they were to call – and a few other teams that may have interest. Speaking of which, since Tulowitzki’s showing up at Yankee Stadium Sunday sparked so many conspiracy theories, we are told the Yankees are not one of the teams that the Rockies believe have players it takes to pull off a Tulowitzki deal.
There’s absolutely no indication either team will make that call before the deadline. Nonetheless, the Rockies want to have detailed information if talks ever begin.
Other fronts appear to be quiet, although there is interest.
• We recently identified the Pirates as a team that is taking a look at Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins, and now we’re told that 5-6 clubs are interested in Hawkins, knowing he can pitch in any situation. But two issues are making it hard to deal the 41-year-old reliever with the ageless right arm:
The Rockies believe his influence is strong enough on young players and young pitchers that they want to keep him around, even though the team is in last place.
The Rockies’ requirement for help at the start of next season, plus pitchers under club control applies to Hawkins. Teams in contention haven’t offered what the Rockies want.
• It’s doubtful the Rockies will move lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who has pitched better at Coors than any pitcher in their history. The Rockies have been listening when clubs inquire, but after it surfaced that the Rockies coveted Orioles righty Kevin Gausman and a whole haul of prospects, no other team’s interest made it to the rumor stage. Expect the Rockies to make the $14 million qualifying offer for De La Rosa, a free agent after this season, and use that as the basis for keeping him.
• While the Rockies have scouted lefty Brett Anderson since his return from a broken left index finger, there are no active discussions. The Rockies are expected to pick up Anderson’s $12 million option for next season.
— Thomas Harding
If the day ends in “y,” you can count on a bunch of Rockies injury updates.
Rockies.com will have stories on shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s dry needling procedure scheduled for Monday in Philadelphia, as well as lefty Boone Logan and first baseman Justin Morneau beginning injury rehab assignments Monday. Here’s more:
— The Rockies went into Sunday down two outfielders because Carlos Gonzalez rolled his right ankle at home Saturday, and was still sore, and Drew Stubbs was still recovering from turning his left foot awkwardly while hitting a home run in Saturday night’s 8-1 victory over the Pirates. Both players were in uniform Sunday enjoying Family Day activities. Gonzalez’s ankle was taped heavily. Stubbs was walking normally, but it wasn’t clear if he could handle quick-burst activity.
— Righty Jordan Lyles struck out four and gave up no runs, three hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings on Saturday for Class A Modesto in his first injury rehab start since suffering a broken left hand on June 4.
— Righty Christian Bergman, out since suffering a broken left hand when hit by a line drive on June 20, make his first injury rehab start Tuesday at Double-A Tulsa against Springfield. Bergman is scheduled for about 70 pitches. Because Springfield is a Cardinals affiliate, the game will be played under National League rules, so Bergman will test the injury batting. Bergman said the hand is still sore when performing some movements, but he’s fine catching return throws from the catcher and none of the soreness is debilitating.
— Righty Jhoulys Chacin, out with a muscle strain and a slight labrum tear in his throwing shoulder, reported feeling fine after three plasma-rich platelet treatments. He’ll be checked Monday, and if all goes well he’ll begin a strengthening program, followed by a throwing program. Chacin has said he wants to return by season’s end, but it’s doubtful he can return.
— Thomas Harding
Rockies Tulowitzki does not have no-trade clause; talks are intriguing if not imminent (Also, a look at many possible Rockies deals)
Note to fans: I am having trouble with links in this post, so I’ll do it this way:
I refer to Joel Sherman’s exclusive in the New York Post: http://nypost.com/2014/07/24/mets-to-rockies-lets-talk-tulowitzki-cargo-trades/
And it would be good to review what I wrote yesterday: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/col/colorado-rockies-arent-in-active-talks-about-drew-stubbs?ymd=20140724&content_id=86148486&vkey=news_col
Thanks much. Now, for my blog post …
Contrary to what has been repeated in many reports, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki does not have a no-trade clause — at least not at this point — in his contract.
Going strictly by the contract language (and consulting with sources with direct knowledge of the contract), if traded, Tulowitzki would receive a $2 million bonus from the club he would land with, and only then would a no-trade provision go into effect. That is in addition to the five years and $104 million, plus incentives and escalators, left on his deal.
Now, from the standpoint that Tulowitzki is one of the game’s most-respected players and someone who has been through thick and a lot of thin with the Rockies, it stands to reason that if such a decision were made the club would at least listen to Tulowitzki’s preferences — especially if there were places he didn’t want to go. However, he does not have that right within his contract, and he is not a 10-and-5 player (10 years in the Majors with the last five with the team).
All that said, the chances are low that Tulowitzki would be dealt by next Thursday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline. Tulowitzki has said all along he doesn’t expect a deadline deal, and the more likely scenario is he would meet with his family and club officials after the season and get an idea of the team’s direction before deciding whether to press for a trade. Sources around the Majors say Rockies owner Dick Monfort’s position with them is the same as it is publicly — he is not seeking a deadline deal, and there is no guarantee he wants to make a deal even after the season.
Tulowitzki’s being on the 15-day disabled list with a hip flexor strain also complicates the chance of a deal now.
By the way, Major League sources say the Rockies aren’t anywhere close to dealing outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, a sublime talent who has dealt with injuries the last two years.
Given that, current trade rumors are to be seen as laying the groundwork for talks after the season.
Those talks could become really interesting. Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote today that the Mets are interested in being players if the Rockies ever decided to deal Tulo or CarGo. Sherman names pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, plus outfielder Brandon Nimmo and infielder Dilson Herrera as players the Rockies like. Given the Rockies’ perpetual need and desire for young pitching, the names Syndergaard and Matz would make it hard for club officials to dismiss if talks were to become serious.
Of course, anything the Mets do is related to the Yankees. Sherman points out that Tulo’s love for Derek Jeter, the Yankees shortstop who must be replaced, and the fact the Rockies like the Yankees’ top pitching prospect, righty Luis Severino. And the Cardinals have been rumored as a possible trading partner since last winter.
In other developments:
–The same article by Sherman points out that the Rockies have had interest in Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and notes the Rockies have pieces the Yankees want – lefty starters Jorge De La Rosa and Brett Anderson, and catcher Wilin Rosario, who could preserve his bat and mitigate his defensive issues by being a designated hitter or playing another position. But we are told that the Rockies aren’t looking to deal Rosario before Thursday’s deadline.
But expect Rosario to be an offseason topic of conversation. The Rockies have been sticking with him, believing his power hitting can make up for defense that has been a work in progress ever since he was promoted from Double-A in 2011. However, the Rockies may be forced to re-think.
The pitching staff will continue to be young. Left-hander Tyler Matzek and right-handers such as Eddie Butler and Jon Gray (Matzek and Butler debuted this year, and Gray is on the radar) will be in the rotation sooner than later. Righties Jhoulys Chacin and Jordan Lyles have been around, but are in their 20s.
It might be time for a veteran catcher, or one with frontline all-around ability who is special at calling games, to trim the learning curve for the pitchers. Two examples come to mind: 1) Late in his career, Pudge Rodriguez went to the Marlins and later to the Tigers, teams that didn’t have recent histories of winning. He made a major difference to those young staffs, and the result was a World Series win wit the Marlins and a World Series appearance with the Tigers. 2) It’s hard to quantify but easy to appreciate the impact Russell Martin had last year with the Pirates, who ended a 20-year postseason drought with pitchers who needed help reaching their potential.
–The Rockies are in a quandary when it comes to dealing their own pitching. They want young pitching under club control, but what if the best bargaining chips are their own desirable pitchers.
The Rockies are listening to trade offers, but the price they’ve set with the Orioles shows that they’ll take only the cream of another team’s crop. But even if they receive pitchers with bright futures, is there any guarantee they’re going to have the present that De La Rosa has?
De La Rosa has been by far the Rockies’ best pitcher at Coors Field, and whether he qualifies as the best pitcher in club history is a growing debate. Dude is 42-14 at Coors Field. And he likes pitching there. After seeing top prospects — lefty Drew Pomeranz, now with the Athletics, is a clear example — flame out at Coors, who’s to say anyone else’s prospects are going to make it?
Maybe the Rockies take the plunge. Or maybe they are better off retaining De La Rosa, who is in the final year of his contract. The $11 million qualifying offer the Rockies would need to make to preserve the right to compensation in case3 he left is $3 million more than he is making. That could give them another year with De La Rosa, or it could be the basis for a longer-term deal for a pitcher who wants to be here.
–Everyone says the Rockies need starting pitching. Heck, the Rockies say it. That being the case, it’s puzzling to see lefty Brett Anderson’s name in possible trade reports, although teams would be sensible to check on his availability.
Anderson missed 16 starts with a broken left index finger, and injuries have been an issue throughout his career. But let’s look at his two starts since coming off the disabled list: 1) Clearly rusty and still with little experience at Coors Field, he gave up five runs in the first inning against the Twins at home in the final game before the All-Star break. But he got through six with just one additional run. 2) At Pittsburgh, lacking his best stuff, Anderson pitched with savvy and professionalism and held a lineup for a contending club to one run in seven innings.
Once again, do you trade this top-end ability for guys whose best may or may not arrive at all or may or may not arrive at Coors Field?
Of course, there is a money issue. Anderson has a $12 million club option for 2015, or a $1.5 million buyout. If the Rockies believe that they’re a good team that has been ruined by injuries, it stands to reason that they pay the money and hope to be healthy next season.
–Well, we’ve laid out how the Rockies are leaning against dealing Tulo and CarGo, are likely to wait until after the season to address the catching situation, and have plenty of reasons not to deal De La Rosa or Anderson. So where do they get the young pitching they crave?
They’ll listen when teams discuss outfielder Drew Stubbs. The Mariners are the hot rumor. Also, the Rockies will listen to offers for righty pitcher LaTroy Hawkins. But there will be debate about how much a team is willing to give up for Stubbs, whose home/road splits and low on-base percentage history are concerning, and Hawkins, who is fit and effective but also 41.
Still, being in a pennant race makes giving up valuable pitching prospects sound like a better idea. So we’ll see. If Stubbs or Hawkins don’t bring offers of top-level prospects, the Rockies still must listen. This year’s injuries exposed a startling lack of starting depth, and they have to get it from somewhere.
— Thomas Harding
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said his left thigh felt the same Sunday as it did Saturday night, when he suffered a cramp in the fourth inning and had to leave the 3-2 loss to the Pirates. And the news wasn’t much better when manager Walt Weiss ran down his injury list Sunday, before the R0ckies’ attempt to avoid being swept by the Pirates.
Tulowitzki was on the lineup as a possible pinch-hitter, but Weiss didn’t see him as an option.
“He’s sore,” Weiss said. “I still consider him day-to-day, but he’s sore. It could be a couple or three days. We’ll monitor it and just check in with him hourly, but I’m expecting it to be another day or two.”
— First baseman Justin Morneau missed his third straight day with neck stiffness, and Weiss admitted he’s worried “a little bit. He’s made some improvement but still not enough to be out there. Anytime a guy is not able to play in two, three, four days, you start to get concerned.”
— The stiff neck that lefty Boone Logan is suffering from also is an issue. It’s not clear if he’ll be available Sunday. “He’s still questionable,” Weiss said.
There was surprise good news. All-Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon turned his left ankle in a scary fashion Saturday night when he lined into a double play to end the 11th inning. X-rays were clean, and Blackmon wasn’t limping on Sunday.
“Charlie surprised me when he showed up this morning,” Weiss said. “I thought he was going to be hurt. I saw a replay, and I also saw a snapshot when he rolled his ankle. It was really ugly.
“He’s mad at me because he isn’t in the lineup, which is a good thing. He tried to make a case for being in that lineup. But I actually made the lineup before he got here and knew he’d be available. He is available and Charlie wants to be there. He’s fought hard to be an everyday player, and those guys want to be out there all the time.”
Friday night marked Rockies utility man Charlie Culberson’s first time at first base, and the 4-2 loss to the Pirates was an eventful night.
Culberson had to leap for an errant Nolan Arenado throw in the seventh — it was an error on the third baseman, but Culberson made sure runs didn’t score — and he stretched very length of his 6-foot frame to catch a wide throw from shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in the eighth. The runner was originally ruled safe, but replay overturned that call.
Culberson played well enough to earn another start at third base on Saturday, with Justin Morneau out for a second game with a stiff neck. Not only was it his first time at first in the Majors, it was his first games at first in his entire life.
“It was fun,” Culberson said. “The first time I even took groundballs at first was in Milwaukee, that last game, when Stu [Cole, the infield coach and third-base coach] said, ‘Hey, take some groundballs at first.’ I practiced some at first and I filled in Thursday night because Morneau was not there. I was all right.
“I’m still in the infield. It’s a different glove, but it’s OK.”
A middle infielder by trade, Culberson played 27 games in left field when called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs last season.
DETROIT — Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will fly to Philadelphia on Monday for further evaluation of an injury in the left groin area that has kept him out of action since May 30, the club announced Friday.
Dr. William Meyers, a surgeon with extensive experience in sports hernia injuries, will look at Tulowitzki’s two previous MRI reports plus conduct his own evaluation. Meyers performed a sports hernia surgery on Rangers star Josh Hamiltion in November 2011. Meyers also has operated on football players Donovan McNabb and Jeremy Shockey, and hockey player Tomas Holmstrom.
It’s not certain if his injury is a sports hernia or which of the many types of sports hernia it may be and, if it is a sports hernia, it’s not a certainty that Tulowitzki will have surgery. Rockies head trainer Keith Dugger said Friday the club is acting on a recommendation to have another opinion on what is causing the pain and discomfort in the left groin area.
Tulowitzki’s current diagnosis is a left groin strain. The injury has bothered him since the first series of the year. Tulowitzki began an injury rehab assignment Wednesday at Triple-A Colorado Springs but left after three innings when he felt pain in the area. Sports hernias are diagnosed almost exclusively in high-level male athletes, and usually occur with athletes who battle chronic groin pain.
The Rockies will play in Philadelphia Tuesday through Thursday. Tulowitzki’s evaluation will occur on the Rockies’ idle day on Monday.
The idea that outfielder Tyler Colvin is strictly a backup for the Rockies could be changing.
Colvin started in center field, instead of Dexter Fowler, on Saturday against the Dodgers, and manager Jim Tracy said Colvin — hitting .314 with two home runs and 10 RBIs — has earned greater opportunity to start. The Rockies aren’t going away from left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who leads the team in home runs with seven and RBIs with 26, or right fielder Michael Cuddyer, who is hitting .286 with four homers and is tied with first baseman Todd Helton for second in RBIs with 21.
That means Colvin’s starts will come at the expense of Fowler, who is hitting .223 with four homers and 14 RBIs.
Fowler has a .311 on-base percentage and 27 strikeouts in 94 at-bats, and has had two errors and a couple of defensive miscues. Actually, Colvin has an outfield error and 19 strikeouts in 51 at-bats, so he has statistical challenges as well.
“In any given situation he’s made the most of it, whether it’s starting a game, coming off the bench,” Tracy said. “We’ve gotten quality at-bats from him as a starter. He’s done a terrific job as a left-handed pinch-hitter.
“You’ve got to get him out there tonight. He’s pushing the envelope for more time. When a player does that, you have to be mindful of it and create additional opportunities for him to play. He is making a strong statement for himself to get more at-bats than he’s gotten to this point. We’re doing what’s in his best interest and also our baseball team’s best interest in getting him additional opportunity.”
2B Marco Scutaro
3B Jonathan Herrera
LF Carlos Gonzalez
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Todd Helton
RF Michael Cuddyer
CF Tyler Colvin
C Wilin Rosario
RHP Juan Nicasio
SS Dee Gordon
2B Mark Ellis
CF Matt Kemp
RF Andre Ethier
LF Bobby Abreu
3B Juan Uribe
1B James Loney
C A.J. Ellis
RHP Aaron Harang