Thursday Rockpile: On off-days, thoughts turn to roster spot #25

Steve Foster at Inside the Rockies breaks down which Colorado Springs position players are the likeliest call-ups prior to the weekend series. Leading the way would be the guy we just sent down, Ian Stewart, who has been ripping up AAA pitching. As Foster indicates, the franchise might feel that Stewart would be better served with another week or two working out his approach and building more confidence in the Springs, however. To me, Alfredo Amezaga seems the most valuable choice to the team outside Stewart (I think Charlie Blackmon's value to the club diminishes in a reserve role) followed closely by Chris Nelson. With Amezaga requiring a DFA at the end of his stint in the MLB to be sent back down, however, Nelson moves ahead as the more likely and efficient option.

A week ago yesterday, the Giants were smirking and counting on a road sweep in Denver drawing them within a game of the Rockies for the NL West lead. They've gone 1-5 since, dropping back to five games behind the Rockies. I'm not pointing this out to mock the presumptuousness of a fan base and team that feels entitled to genuflection from the rest of us division stiffs (okay, maybe a little bit that... what?... fine... more than a little bit,) but to instead show how quickly things can still change this early in the season. While Colorado's lead has been slowly widening, it wouldn't take much of a hot streak by one of our rivals or a cold snap by the Rockies to make the division a tight race again. Before June, I consider a ten game lead as more or less "safe" from competition outside a few rare miracles. An advantage along the lines of what the 2009 Dodgers had over the rest of the division right around the time Jim Tracy took over for Clint Hurdle. The Rockies aren't there yet.

Speaking of Hurdle, the Rockies former skipper was gracious enough to answer fan mail questions for the Denver Post. Hurdle's Pirates wrap up a three game set against the Giants this afternoon before heading to Denver for a weekend series against the Rockies. Should the Pirates win today, it would start the Giants 10 game road trip through Pittsburgh, Washington and New York on a bad note. Of course, it should be easy for the world champions to beat these three patsies given how easy they claimed two of the three were in the Rockies early schedule. At any rate, among other things, Hurdle says that Jorge De La Rosa is the player he fourth most wishes to steal from the Rox. As part of a disappointing league-wide trend, Pittsburgh attendance for the two Giants games has been less than 10,000, by the way.

The Rockies Ty Wigginton had some bad timing for his injury, just as it appeared he was ready to break out of a slump, his oblique strain has him sidelined. The extra day of rest that yesterday's rainout brought about probably helps in this regard, as it helps the bullpen.

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