Before the start of today’s game to start a three game interleague series with the Tampa Bay Rays, the Colorado Rockies recalled infielder Pat Valaika up from Triple-A Albuquerque as a result of the Rockies having to place first baseman Daniel Murphy on the injured list. Before the game, Rox Pile’s own Kevin Henry caught up with Valaika in the clubhouse.
That’s how Pat Valaika felt before today’s game as a result of being called up to the majors. Obviously, it wasn’t on the best circumstances as Daniel Murphy will spent a decent amount of time with a fractured finger that he sustained in the opening series of the season in Miami.
Last season, Valaika didn’t see as much action with the Rockies as he only took part in 68 games but he struggled to a 16 OPS+, compared to a 95 OPS+ in 110 games in 2017.
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However, he just missed making the team out of Spring Training. He had a pretty good spring as he hit .286/.280/.612 with 4 home runs and 12 RBI in 41 at-bats. Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson as they played better than Valaika and, arguably, were the two best players in spring training. The club also did not want to lose Mark Reynolds so Valaika was the odd man out.
However, he told Henry that wasn’t really upset or disappointed about the decision.
"“I don’t know if disappointment is the right word. I wanted to break [spring training] with the team but I didn’t and that was just the reality of it. I wasn’t mad or anything. I just took it as ‘this is where this year starts’ and I kind of figured I wouldn’t end there so I feel good [with where I’m at]…but it’s important to me to be where my feet are [and not thinking of playing at a different level].”"
Even though he knew that he’d likely be back with the Rockies at some time during the season, he didn’t expect to be with the team so early but the injury to Murphy caused the roster move.
We obviously don’t know how long he will be with the major league team but he will look to carry over his spring success to the regular season so that the Rockies will have a tough decision to make when Daniel Murphy returns.