Colorado Rockies spring notebook: Bud Black on how Philip Diehl can make the team

The Colorado Rockies played their first game on Sunday and with their 5-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Rockies enter the month of March with a record of 1-0.

Rockies left-handed reliever Philip Diehl got the win for the Rockies after he pitched a scoreless fifth inning for the Rockies. Diehl, 26, is looking to make the Rockies bullpen, perhaps, as the team’s only left-handed reliever.

On Monday morning, Rockies manager Bud Black spoke with the media, including Rox Pile, and we asked him what he saw out of Diehl and what he needs to see from Diehl for him to make the team/ Black said that Diehl “pounded the strike zone and attacked in the strike zone with his pitches” and while he did have some “hard contact” against him, Black said that he liked the “intent” of his pitches.

As for him making the team, here’s what Black said:

“With Philip, we’re going to have to see, with a critical eye,” said Black. “The pitch making–whether he’s hitting his spots, whether the breaking ball has nice sharpness to it and big quality–but he has shown that in certain flashes over two years with us but I think, with him, he has to really fine tune his location with the fastball–get it in good spots–and really get that slider to the point where it’s really effective versus left-handed hitters and, if a righty comes up, he’s gotta be able to get it underneath their swing down and in to them.”

Black also spoke about some of the younger guys that he saw yesterday, including Jameson Hannah, Ryan Vilade, Colton Welker, Connor Joe, and Alan Trejo.

Hannah, who acquired along with pitcher Robert Stephenson in the Jeff Hoffman trade this offseason, came on to play right field in the fifth inning, and in that inning, with Diehl pitching, Hannah made a “nice sliding catch” in right field. Hannah also delivered an RBI single that scored Alan Trejo in the 6th inning.

With Vilade and Welker, Black said that they both had “good swings” and they “squared a couple of balls with authority.”  Joe drew two walks in his three plate appearances and had full counts in each of the at-bats that drew walks. Black said that he “had some good swings” and “a couple of good at-bats.” Trejo had a double to lead off the 6th (and he scored on Hannah’s single) and he also “had a nice turn” on an attempted double play. Black said that Trejo “looked good” in his few innings.

Joe is the only one of the five who is in the Rockies starting lineup today as the Rockies will face the Dodgers on the road at Camelback Ranch at 1:05 PM M.T. The Rockies game will be broadcast on KOA 850 AM and the Rockies Radio Network. It will also be televised by the Dodgers. Dereck Rodriguez will toe the slab for the Rockies and he will face the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, Trevor Bauer, in his first appearance with the reigning World Champions.

Chris Owings on his hamstring injury

Before Black, Owings spoke with the media, including Rox Pile, and he spoke about his injury that limited him just to 12 games in 2020.

He suffered a hamstring injury in August and the Rockies thought he would return in about two weeks but he was out for the rest of the season. That was because he reaggravated the injury multiple times.

When he spoke with the media on Monday, he said that it wasn’t a severe injury but more of a “nagging” injury. He sustained the injury on August 12 and took himself out of the lineup for a few days as he didn’t play again until August 17 and that was just as a pinch-hitter. He came on defensively in the 11th inning on the 18th and on the 19th, he started the game. He thought he was fine but in the last at-bat he had on August 19th, he said that he “tweaked” it again. It happened twice more in rehab, which is why he didn’t return.

He ended up having to get a PRP shot (platelet-rich plasma) during the last week of the season to try to help him recover during the offseason.

He will look to make the Rockies as a utilityman with the second-most service time on the Rockies (now that Ian Desmond won’t be on the team, at least to start). Charlie Blackmon is the Rockies most tenured player in the majors and Owings’ fellow non-roster invitee, C.J. Cron, is third.