Remember how last week I advised you not to panic about the Rockies' cold start? The Rockies were 0-7 at that point, but have since won four Cactus League games in a row thanks in the most part to the awakening of their bats (which was probably in turn due to the relaxation of the hitting restrictions placed on them). In any case, the Rockies are for the most part on a much better level than they were just a week ago, with Todd Helton making his spring debut authoritatively and Ian Stewart returning from injury.
However, yesterday's biggest baseball news was the upset victory of the Netherlands over the Dominican Republic (again!) 2-1 in 11 innings. The scale of this upset is simply incalculable. ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. attempts to measure the emotional impact of this result for both sides.
From a Rockies standpoint, Ubaldo Jimenez was the shining star or the evening for the Dominican Republic, throwing four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out ten batters--a WBC record. Ubaldo had 65 pitches, throwing 43 for strikes, and while the Netherlands is hardly a dominant lineup, putting up that kind of stat line is still impressive. Jack Etkin elaborates on the performance in a blog post, as does Troy Renck.
Moving on, Jorge de la Rosa took a step back yesterday in the Rockies' 14-7 win over Oakland, allowing five earned runs while retiring only one hitter. JDLR may be squandering his rotation slot with his poor spring thus far. I tend to be more optimistic with Jorge, who has shown the ability to consistently miss bats, but this spring he hasn't pitched very well at all. Of course, Renck has the obligatory "Matt Holliday comes back" story.
Tracy Ringolsby has an update on the spring position battles and gives Matt Belisle consideration for a bullpen slot. We haven't seen much from Belisle, so I'll reserve judgment on this until he's pitched more than one inning. Ringolsby also details the Rockies' pitching schedule for the next few days. Also of interest is Etkin's piece on the Rockies' dearth of left-handed pitching prospects both historically and presently, with some Christian Friedrich analysis.
Renck chimes in with a nice piece on Yorvit Torrealba. In the notes it mentions that Joe Beimel is still asking for $2.5 million, which is why the Rockies still have no interest in him. Also, Renck speculates briefly on the Yankees' third base situation and if they would trade for Garrett Atkins. My guess is that it won't happen--even for a guy like Baker that would be a nice fill-in.
In other news, Chicago is figuring out why the Rockies wanted to trade Luis Vizcaino, as he is possibly pitching himself out of a roster spot. Assuming Jason Marquis puts up even replacement-level numbers for us, Dan O'Dowd absolutely pulled off a steal of a deal.