Good morning Rowbots and Rowbettes alike. I'd like to start off this morning's Rockpile by sharing a little something grabbed off of Twitter last night from Jayson Stark:
Here's a thought that ought to warm you up out there. This was the last Sunday without a baseball game to watch until Nov. 7. Play ball!
That's right, it's almost game time. Veterans are finding young legs, prospects are developing, oft-injured players are getting hurt again already and the dumb GMs that signed them anyway are baffled at how that went wrong, and somebody is rocking a ridiculous haircut/facial hair ensemble, or lack thereof.
Ah, yes, Spring. The time for new hopes, new beginnings, and new excuses for the Cubs not winning the World Series. Wait, scratch that. They'll just put a little spitshine on the old one and pass it off as new.
Despite snow on the ground in Denver and a miserable grey sky, it's apparently clear and sunny in Arizona, where somewhere, somehow, the Royals are under .500.
But seriously, it's a time of growth and life, Spring, as evidenced by our own Jason Hammel.
Hammel time moves fast for Rockies' fifth starter - Troy Renck (The Denver Post)
After an offseason raise and a wedding, Hammel finds himself in a position where he never was in Tampa Bay: Starting. He may have been on-again-off-again during his stay in The Sunshine State, he really made an impression on their coaching staff the way he did ours. You'll remember that during our short 2009 Postseason run, Hammel was handed the ball rather than proven Winnar Jason Marquis. As you read into the article, you'll see that Hammel abandoned a sinker (GASP) and relied on his 4-seam fastball, finding himself with better command and still an acceptable number of ground balls. We'll see how well this works going forward.
And in case you missed the obvious line in Renck's article title:
Rockies Notes: Rockies won't let Giants get look at Jimenez - Troy Renck (Denver Post)
Some quick notes in here: First, Jimenez is being intentionally started against the Angels during split squad matchups rather than the Giants. Jim Tracy hasn't forgotten that rivalry down the stretch.
Francis is still trying to reign in his delivery, but that's to be fully expected after so long out of commission.
Huston Street is waiting to hear back from the feds regarding being given oxygen treatments during rehab back in Oakland on a nerve in his elbow by Dr. Anthony Galea, who's been linked to violating MLB's drug policy.
There might be an intrasquad game today!!!!!
Veteran Mora steps into new role with the Rockies - Jack Etkin (Inside the Rockies)
During a rainy Sunday morning, Melvin Mora sits at his locker and regales the young latin players with tales of his years in the Dominican Summer League as well as 7 years of minor league play, and even a stop in Taiwan. It's good to hear that the veteran benefits are already paying off. You know, in the form of StoryTime.
Chacin tries to beat odds, make roster - Thomas Harding (MLB.com)
Beat Writer Thomas Harding documents Jhoulys Chacin's desire to break camp on the roster. I frankly don't see it happening, but apparently he's put a lot of work into commanding his pitches, and we'll have to see what turns up.
Betancourt, Hawpe delay Cactus League debuts - Thomas Harding (Hardball in the Rockies)
On his blog, Thomas Harding is also reporting that Hawpe and Betancourt aren't going to be participating in the upcoming games. Betancourt is playing catchup from a spell of sickness he had post-Christmas that caused him to miss about 3 weeks of preparation. Basically it's regaining strength, etc. He feels like he's close, but he needs to just face hitters a bit more in a practice situation before he's ready for game competition. Hawpe is still finishing up that nasty toe problem he has, but he says he's just a couple of days away.