If there is anything to be taken away from today’s Spring Training opener, it’s that there is absolutely nothing to be taken away from today’s Spring Training opener. Ubaldo spent two innings throwing his best batting practice fastball; he didn’t top 90 in the first. Ian Stewart almost kneed CarGo in the head. I’m pretty sure Seth Smith hit a double off a lefty, but nobody saw it. Fox Sports was busy showing off Alanna. Interestingly enough, we didn’t get to see Cole Garner’s double for the exact same reason. And, of course, the game went to an extra inning. To be honest, I actually considered turning it off, but wanted to see the minor leaguers.
The best part of the entire broadcast was the team’s commercials. I believe they showed each of the 2011 set, and, as usual, they didn’t disappoint. It was also nice to see the new facility. Talking Stick looks like God’s gift to baseball fans. It’s a sprawling baseball-opolis with practice diamonds, work out facilities and batting cages as far as the eye can see.
It’s very difficult to make judgments from spot playing time, but a couple of prospects still managed to impress me. Here are some notes I took on the youngsters:
Charlie Blackmon – In Charlie’s first AB, he was a little too patient. He was able to get ahead in the count, but passed up some decent pitches before swinging at a bad one for strike three. In his second at-bat, he launched a solo shot to give the Rox the lead in the tenth. It was a terrific at-bat. He once again worked ahead in the count, but this time jumped on a 2-0 fastball, launching a high shot over the right-field wall. It was the kind of adjustment you love to see a minor leaguer make.
Jordan Pacheco – Pacheco looks stronger this year. He took a solid at-bat early in the game, lining a single up the middle. I hope the Rox keep an open mind about Jordan’s versatility. He is good enough to play several positions and can absolutely rake.
Hector Gomez – Hector’s ability has always been apparent, but he hasn’t been healthy. He looked good today. His arm and legs were lively and he collected a really nice single in his second at-bat. His steal of third was an explosive play. I realize that he air mailed a couple of throws, but I’m overlooking it for now.
Greg Reynolds – Reynolds was decent, despite giving up a solo home run. Unfortunately, it looks like Reynolds will never gain back the velocity he once had, but his sinker looked sharp. If he hadn’t piped an 88 mph fastball to Kelly Johnson, it would’ve been a really good outing.
Bruce Billings – Billings looked a little antsy today. He was over-throwing and had difficulty finding the zone, but managed to get out of the eighth without giving up a run. Billings has a lot of promise as a reliever; the Rox were smart to switch him.
Chris Nelson – Chris put together two really good at-bats, drawing walks in both. He added a stolen base and a run to the box score. He replaced Ian Stewart at third, which was obviously an attempt to test his versatility.
Cole Garner –Garner had a very solid day. He was two for three with a double and made a nice assist from center-field. If Garner has a strong spring, he might make this team.
Mike McKenry – In addition to calling and catching a good game, McKenry drew a couple of walks and scored a run. That’s all the Rox can ask from the defense-oriented catcher.
Ben Paulsen – Paulsen received one pinch-hit at bat. He put good wood on the ball, but lined out to center.
Adam Jorgenson – Jorgenson’s day was a disaster. He was brought in to close the game and struggled with location. His mechanics were all over the place – clearly the result of his over eagerness. When he came into the game, the Rockies led 7-2. When he left, the game was tied 7-7. The homerun he gave up finally landed about ten minutes ago.
Andrew Johnston – After Jorgenson’s meltdown, Johnston was called upon and looked very sharp. He threw strikes, efficiently closing out the game. He also drew a nice walk in the top of the tenth.
On a final note, the stadium was roughly 1500 over capacity – a very impressive showing.
Topics: Adam Jorgenson, Alanna On FSRM, Andrew Johnston, Ben Paulsen, Bruce Billings, Cactus League, CarGo, Charlie Blackmon, Chris Nelson, Cole Garner, Fox Sports Rocky Mountain' Alanna, Greg Reynolds, Hector Gomez, Ian Stewart, Jordan Pacheco, Mike McKenry, Seth Smith, Spring Training Opener, Talking Stick, Tulo