Brendan Rodgers was recalled by the Rockies on Wednesday after breaking summer camp in the alternate training site. While meeting with the media on Thursday, he provided some insight into satellite camp life.
Rodgers was the Rockies’ first round pick (third overall) in the 2015 draft and has since made his mark in the minors. His debut in May 2019 was regarded as one of the most anticipated since Nolan Arenado in 2013. However, in his first stint in the majors, Rodgers underperformed. In just 25 games in 2019, he hit .224/.272/.250 in 76 at-bats. He had two doubles, seven RBI, and four walks, but struck out 27 times. It was later revealed that Rodgers was playing through a shoulder injury that required surgery. He was cleared for baseball activities during spring training, but was ultimately left off the Rockies 30-man roster and assigned to the alternate training site at Metro State University to start the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
“I was a little aggravated,” Rodgers said of being left off the 30-man roster. “But that doesn’t stop me from working. And honestly, it’s just a little more fuel to the fire, to just keep pushing myself. Knowing where I want to be and what I can do for this team, I’ll just keep moving forward and keep pushing myself.”
Rodgers was recalled from the alternate training site on Wednesday and was a late addition to the ballgame. He entered in the eight and ended up scoring the last two runs for the Rockies on a two-RBI double in the ninth to make the final score 13-6. He made his first start on Wednesday since being recalled, but wen 0-for-5 with two strikeouts.
Prior to the game, Rodgers shed some light on life at the alternate training site. He first spoke about how much action he was seeing at MSU Denver.
“I definitely got a lot of at-bats down there — 25-30 at bats. I got my innings on defense,” he said. “It’s different every day just because of how our pitchers throw and how many innings they throw and their schedules, so we kinda go off of that. But I definitely got a bunch of quality at-bats and some solid defensive work at all three positions, so I’m feeling confident and ready to go.”
While they haven’t been keeping score necessarily, the players have been using it as a fun learning experience.
“When we get into our live BP’s, there’s like three or four guys for a team that come and hit,” Rodgers said. “We just keep switching out from offense to defense. It’s kinda like a non-stop game. And the hitters...if a guy gets on [we] move him over, and driving guys in. We all get pluses and minuses. Same thing for the pitchers — getting behind in the count, throwing first pitch strikes, stuff like that. It’s all jotted down, it’s all being looked at. So there’s definitely some motivation there, I would say.”
Rodgers also spoke of the vibe at the alternate training site.
“Everyone’s loose down there. Everyone’s having fun,” he noted. “There’s a lot of new guys, a lot of young players. It’s fun to see them getting their work in and how some of these new guys perform and it’s fun to watch.”
Since Rodgers has spent the majority of his career in the minor leagues, he drew some comparisons to being in the minors — namely Double-A or Triple-A — versus being in satellite camp.
“They’re both pretty similar,” he said. “I would say Double-A/Triple-A is more of getting the work in that you need for the day to prepare yourself. But at the alternate site, you get pretty much live BP’s everyday which you don’t get during a normal season. So that kinda helps you lock in and makes it a little more game-like instead of just hitting BP every day. We get BP; we get live BP; we get our grounders; we get our defensive work in. So it’s very similar to a regular season, just including some live BP at-bats.”
With the Rockies’ alternate training site being located so close to Coors Field, the players have been able to play intrasquad games at Coors and have played there while the big league club is out of town. Being so close can certainly have its benefits, such as getting a feel for the Denver altitude, but it’s probably safe to say that the Rockies are making the most of this weird pandemic-shortened season and hopefully it pays dividends down the road.