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Cole Tucker is embracing his fresh start with the Rockies

Colorado Rockies news and links for Monday, August 14, 2023

Cole Tucker was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round of the 2014 draft (24th overall) out of Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, AZ. He made his MLB debut on April 20, 2019 against the San Francisco Giants and played 56 games during his rookie season. Unfortunately, those are the most MLB games that Tucker has played in a single season.

Like the rest of Major League Baseball, 2020 was a bit of a wash.

Tucker started the year by being optioned to Triple-A and assigned to the Pirates Alternate Site. He was recalled on July 23 and played 37 games (out of 60, mind you) before suffering a season-ending concussion.

In 2021, he was again optioned to Triple-A to start the season before being placed back in Double-A a month later and eventually was added to the Pirates Alternate Site again. He moved up-and-down between the MLB Pirates and the Indianapolis Indians in 2021 and 2022 before eventually being DFA’d on May 30, 2022. He played 43 MLB games in 2021 and 18 in 2022. He was claimed off waivers by his hometown Arizona Diamondbacks on June 5, 2022 but never saw the bigs due to some injuries, among other things.

Tucker elected free agency at the end of the season and was signed by the Rox to a minor league deal in December. He spent the first month of the 2023 season on the IL again, but finally broke back into the big leagues on August 7. In total, Tucker has played in just 157 big-league games since 2019 and is a career .214/.263/.316 hitter.

All that being said, Tucker described his return to MLB as “a dream come true.”

“This team’s been great, the guys are awesome,” he said. “There’s some continuity from spring training, which is great. Everyone’s a good guy from top to bottom. It’s been fun just trying to stack some wins and stack some good baseball. We’re in the dog days, but it’s fun to be here, and I’ve been having a blast. It’s been the time of my life!”

Tucker said he’s made two big adjustments heading into 2023: to hit low line drives and to have more fun.

“I’d been trying to hit the ball high and far and sexy pull-side in the air,” he chuckled, “and now I’m just focusing on staying in the middle and hitting line drives and refining my approach as well and efficiently as I can. And that’s been showing up with a lot of success in Albuquerque, and I’m just trying to carry that over here.”

To achieve his goal of having more fun, Tucker is “allow[ing] the game to stay the game and be fun, not letting my at-bats or the game or a play be life or death. [I’m] just taking it how it is, playing like I did in high school or sandlot ball or club ball growing up.

“I’m just letting the best version of myself come through and not putting too much pressure on myself,” he continued. “It sounds basic and elementary, but that’s what I’m telling myself every day when my head hits the pillow and when I wake up. That’s what’s most important.”

Tucker, 27, is also embracing his role as a ‘veteran’ on this young team. But he doesn’t see himself as too much of a veteran.

“I definitely never feel like a veteran with Daniel Bard, Kris Bryant, Kyle Freeland and all those who are true, legit savvy vets, but it’s cool!” Tucker said. “[Ezequiel] Tovar’s young, [Michael] Toglia’s young, [Nolan] Jones is young... I have a couple of years on them, and they do ask me questions, so it’s cool to be there for them.

“But on the flip side, they’re unbelievable baseball players, and I’m trying to learn as much as I can from them, too” he continued. “[I] take little tidbits of what they talk about or what they do or how they go about their business. But it’s an awesome team and there’s a lot of different personalities and a lot of different characteristics throughout the lineup and on the lineup card and in the bullpen, especially. But I’m having a lot of fun with them.”

Manager Bud Black sees Tucker’s future with the Rockies hinging on his positional versatility, something the team has sought both in rookies and in veteran signings, and his ability as a switch hitter.

“His calling card is the versatility and a little bit of speed,” Black said. “We had him in spring training and moved him all over the park. He can play the infield, he can play the outfield, he switch hits, and he can run.”

The challenge for Tucker, though, is that “he hasn’t hit in the majors,” Black warned. “His challenge right now is to be able to hit enough to stick. But I know he’s working extremely hard out there so we’ll see. He’s the type of player that fits on a team because of the versatility and the speed and the switch hitting. He can move around the diamond.”

Now, there are only 44 games left in this miserable season, but Tucker is looking forward to finishing strong.

“[I plan] to finish what I started, keep having fun and keep hitting low line drives,” he chuckled, “[I’m] not trying to get too ahead of myself and whether it’s pinch running, pinch hitting, coming off the bench or getting a start — whatever it may be — [I’m] just doing the best I can and allowing the best version of myself to come up.”

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Homecoming HR: LA native Trejo hits 1st shot at Dodger Stadium |

The Rockies got swept by the Dodgers and were outscored 20-6. But there was one shining moment during the fourth game on Sunday afternoon — Alan Trejo hit a two-run home run off Julio Urías, his first in his hometown ballpark. Trejo grew up right next to Dodger Stadium and grew up rooting for the team. He also played alongside Urías on Team Mexico during the World Baseball Classic. To cap things off, the Dodgers also retired the number of Mexican superstar Fernando Valenzuela during a weekend-long “Fernandomania” celebration. Trejo recounted to’s Doug Padilla what it meant to him to be back in his home stadium on the weekend the Dodgers were retiring the number of one of his Mexican childhood heroes, and what it meant to him to hit a homer off one of the current Mexican greats in his hometown stadium in front of about 40 family and friends in the stands.

Rockies Journal: Ryan Feltner takes big steps three months after skull fracture | Denver Post ($)

It’s been well-documented that the Rockies’ rotation has been in shambles pretty much all of 2023, but now there might be a glimmer of hope: after taking a line-drive off the face on May 13, right-hander Ryan Feltner is starting to throw bullpens again. On Saturday, he threw 30-32 pitches at Dodger Stadium. Up next, he’ll hopefully start throwing against live hitters and eventually make a rehab assignment. It’s still unclear if he’ll make another start this season, but this is a very positive step in the right direction for Feltner after a very scary incident.

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Pebble Report: August 7-13, 2023

Apologies, but due to unforeseen circumstances, there is no Pebble Report this week. However, stay tuned as our PuRPs start being revealed later today! And in the meantime, here are the minor league scores from Sunday, August 13:

Triple-A: Round Rock Express 9, Albuquerque Isotopes 6

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats 4, Portland Sea Dogs 3 (F/10)

High-A: Hillsboro Hops 10, Spokane Indians 4

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies 8, San Jose Giants 5

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