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Tuesday Rockpile: Chris Nelson, Injury Beneficiary

The Rockies really only have one worrisome injury, and Chris Nelson might be the guy to benefit from it.
The Rockies really only have one worrisome injury, and Chris Nelson might be the guy to benefit from it.

Opening Day is in 17 days, but questions still flutter in Rockies Spring Training camp. Around veterans, and rookies, around veterans because of rookies. Some questions may not be answers, some probably don't need to be. Really, the most important thing in Spring Training is health. Relative to other teams, Colorado is in great shape.

There are a few bumps and bruises for the men wearing black and purple, but not many. Despite a hiccup in the third inning yesterday, Juan Nicasio continues to impress in his recovery from neck surgery. He really must be considered a rotation lock at this point. The most impressive aspect of yesterday's game is noted by Thomas Harding in that piece. Ramon Hernandez noted a flaw in Nicasio's delivery in the game, he told Nicasio, Nicasio fixed it, then mowed down the Angels, including striking out Albert Pujols on a slider. Hernandez' presence and guidance are being counted on this season with a young, changing staff.

Drew Pomeranz seems to be recovered from his strained glute muscle and will pitch in a minor league game tomorrow. He is on track to claim a rotation spot as well.

In a minor league game, Jamie Moyer got shelled yesterday (1.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 HR). But as is the case with veterans in the Cactus League, health and process are far more important than results. Bob Apodaca attended Moyer's outing, and the Rockies are actually optimistic. Moyer felt no ill effects of the leg stiffness that slowed him earlier, so he remains in the running with Guillermo Moscoso and Tyler Chatwood for a rotation spot.

Frankly, the Rockies are completely healthy after 17 Spring Training games, quite the feat. Well, except for Casey Blake, who acknowledges his neck injury has made it more likely that he will be released than on the roster at this point. At this point last year, Aaron Cook had suffered more worrisome injuries himself than the 2012 roster has combined. Brandon Wood has been useless since the barrage of attention he received last week, and it is looking more like the Rockies' Opening Day third baseman will be Chris Nelson.

I am nonplussed at the prospect of Nelson starting, personally, as I believe he has a much lower upside than Brandon Wood should everything click, and his offensive and defensive track record in the big leagues leaves much to be desired. But he is a first round pick who is out of options, and there is likely no better chance for Nelson to grab hold of a big league job. He leads the Rockies in Cactus League at bats and is hitting .273/.273/.333, not very good. He did hit a walk-off game-winning "single" yesterday though.

Who is your preferred Opening Day starter at the hot corner? Chris Nelson makes the most logistic sense but has not hit particularly well. Brandon Wood has some upside but is completely lost at the plate right now. Jordan Pacheco has had a blisteringly hot spring, but he doesn't seem to be considered for a 3B job right now, in part due to defense. Casey Blake would be fine if healthy. Nolan Arenado really needs more time in the minors. Rowbots, sound off.

Off Topic


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BBTN Bus Tour: Rockies camp - Spring Training Blog - ESPN TIm Kurkjian featured the Rockies yesterday, and while the brief feature in bulletted form doesn't add much to what rabid Rockies fans already know, there is something in there to make you like Jeremy Guthrie a little more.

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