Tony Wolters Making Early Impact for Colorado Rockies
By Kevin Henry
Heading into spring training, Tony Wolters was a longshot to make the Colorado Rockies’ Opening Day roster. Now 10 games into the season, Wolters is becoming a more valuable member of the team as each day passes.
Picked up on waivers from the Cleveland Indians in February, Wolters started his second consecutive game at catcher on Friday afternoon as the Rockies opened a six-game road trip with a 6-1 decision over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. With Nick Hundley still shaking off the effects of a foul ball he took off his catcher’s mask in Wednesday’s win over the San Francisco Giants, Wolters has taken his place behind the dish and is making the most of the situation.
The 23-year-old Wolters stole his third base in two days, going along with a 1-for-4 performance that netted an RBI on Friday.
“I am just trying to get myself into scoring position,” Wolters said of his stolen bases. “I feel good. I feel like my legs are under me and I’m healthy. I’ve been working hard. Going from infield to catching, it was a priority for me to do that. I feel great and I need to keep working on it.”
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Colorado manager Walt Weiss likes what he has seen from Tony Wolters, both behind the plate and on the basepaths.
“He’s very athletic for a catcher and that athleticism is showing up in many ways,” Weiss said. “He’s a high-energy kid who brings a lot to us.”
With the rookie calling the pitches from behind the plate over the past two games, Colorado starters Jorge De La Rosa and Chad Bettis have allowed just three earned runs in 12.2 innings. Bettis threw one of his best games of his career on Friday, hurling six shutout frames and holding the powerful Chicago offense to just three hits.
Wolters said the two Colorado starters have a number of pitches at their disposal, which makes his job as a catcher “fun.”
“If a pitcher is really confident in one of his secondary pitches, he’s going to be unstoppable,” Wolters said. “We have a lot of guys who are confident, not just in their fastballs but in their secondary pitches. That’s competitive and, as a catcher, when you go out there, you think, ‘Wow, this is going to be fun.’ You can make stuff up because he can throw any pitch at any count. There won’t be any patterns.”
Colorado has now won three straight games and stands at 6-4 on the season.
“I’m excited for the win and this team. We’re just grinders,” Wolters said of Colorado’s offense that has plated 27 runs in the last three games. “Our offense is the best in the league. We have guys who just grind out at-bats. I think everyone in this lineup has the main goal of getting runs and doing whatever it takes to make that happen.”