In the Rockpile: Blake out and Spring Training reactions
The Colorado Rockies trimmed the fat from the roster last week sending guys down to the minors. On Tuesday, they released third baseman Casey Blake, and rounding out the final round of cuts were Nolan Arenado, Tim Wheeler, Zach Putnam, DJ LeMahieu, Carlos Torres and Chad Tracy — son of manager Jim Tracy.
Notable was the decision for experience over inexperience as Arenado was passed over for Chris Nelson and Jordan Pacheco at third base. Ian Stewart — now with the Cubbies — has been succeeded by what looks to be a platoon at the hot corner. My only concern with Nelson is, in the past, he has brought a limp bat to the plate. His hitting has been streaky, and a spotty bat is the last thing the Rockies need. Pacheco should get a longer look because of his bat, more on that to follow.
Paving the way for them was the release of Blake. The old goat had a lackluster spring training, and in the end, the recent surgery on his neck has lingered (a la Peyton Manning) and his .152 batting average was beat out by Nelson’s .267 and Pacheco’s team-leading .436, which is exactly the kind of bat the Rockies need to ride into opening day at third.
The rotation has solidified a bit more with the announcement of Jeremy Guthrie being the first man up in Houston next week. Guthrie’s solid spring training earned him his fourth opening day start, first in Colorado. The former Oriole has a respectable 2.31 ERA in 11.2 innings of work. If he can do exactly what the Rockies hope and say he can do — lengthy starts, low pitch counts, beneficiary of being away from the East Coast — then maybe he can prove that he was simply on a bad team in the wrong division. A change of scenery is good, especially if you’re hopeful about it. Ubaldo Jimenez is still carrying a chip on his shoulder — despite getting his change of scenery — and the Rockies haven’t forgot. It’s good to see Troy Tulowitzki step up and defend the clubhouse by stating that if you want out, all you have to do is go to the front office.
Tickets in hand, I will be headed downtown for opening day in less than two weeks to hopefully see Juan Nicasio make his Coors Field return on the first day of the home season. I really hope they let him take the start, but maybe Tracy’s version of the rotation will have Drew Pomeranz taking the hill.
The Giants are in town, and I get to move my at-home rivalry to Coors Field for the home opener. Hell yeah. Bring back a 3-0 record from Houston while you’re there!
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