ST. LOUIS -- Manager Jim Tracy marveled over the way rookie catcher Wilin Rosario found the energy to hit a home run in the eighth inning of Monday night's 9-3 loss to the Cardinals.Control-challenged Rockies hurlers needed 199 pitches over eight innings to make it through the game. In comparison, the Cardinals handled nine innings in 128 pitches. "He hit the home run late in the game," Tracy said. "After what he had been through, trying to catch what it was we were throwing up there, he still fires a ball into our bullpen for a home run. It's a testament to the kid, how strong he is, how capable he is and how much better he is." Rosario, whose 14 homers lead Major League rookies, has had numerous games like Monday's since taking over as the regular catcher when Ramon Hernandez sustained an injury to his left hand in May.
Just 23, Rosario is not being worn down by the pitch load."Energy is something I have, something God gave me, plus I'm learning on the field," Rosario said. "I'm enjoying the moment, just enjoying being out there. Of course, if you think how many players want to be in my position, it's a lot. So have fun with it." That doesn't mean Rosario doesn't suffer along with the pitcher. His biggest danger as a hitter, he said, is trying to make up for things when the pitcher is struggling. "I think I'm a part of that situation," he said. "When they're bad or when they're good, pat of it is because of how I call the game. I have to control what I can control in any situation." Much of Rosario's game preparation is learning how to handle the Rockies staff, with pitchers who are either inexperienced or struggling or both, and learning opposing hitters his first time through the league. He said that veteran second baseman Marco Scutaro his helped him offensively by giving him quick keys to facing certain pitchers so he can spend more time on the defensive side.
Guthrie looking to make a statement with next start
ST. LOUIS -- Jeremy Guthrie was reluctant to talk on Tuesday, knowing that he can speak with his actions on the mound.The right-hander will start Wednesday night's game against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. It'll be his first start since June 17, when he gave up four runs, three earned, in three innings in a loss to the Tigers. Guthrie started and won the Rockies' Opening Day game at Houston, and in the early days of the season, he gained popularity as being accessible, whether via Twitter or on the streets of Denver. But now he's 3-7 with a 6.56 ERA in 15 games, 11 of them starts, and fans haven't been shy about treating him rudely. Guthrie approaches life with the philosophy that civility should be a given, and not subject to his production on the mound. At first he politely declined an interview request, explaining that the refusal was not out of anger but just because of his belief that fans don't particularly want to hear what he had to say -- they just want him to produce.
But he decided to take the opportunity to discuss his work ethic, which is independent of his stats."It's another opportunity, and I know in baseball nothing is guaranteed, no matter how much experience you have, what you may or may not have accomplished," Guthrie said. "I've taken every outing, whether they've been good outings or bad outings, and been grateful for them. I continue to feel the same way. I have a chance to start again, and hopefully that will lead to many, many, many more starts. "My best way of showing gratitude is working hard -- with teammates and coaches and myself -- to become better. If it's not good enough and I don't become better, I can lay my head down knowing I did everything I could do. That, for me, is success, what life is about. Whether it's pitching or being a husband and a father, I try to do the best I can. When I make mistakes, I address them and try to do better." The chance is there. Left-hander Josh Outman lasted just three outings on Monday in a loss to the Cardinals and has a 10.15 ERA in his last six starts. If Guthrie pitches well on Wednesday, he could be slotted into the four-starter rotation in Outman's stead.
Manager Jim Tracy said it's "not jumping to conclusions" to assume that about Guthrie's start.Guthrie said that being in the bullpen has helped him focus on some mechanical issues that derailed his early performances. He'll see how well it works on Wednesday night. "Nobody can guarantee an outcome, but it's the preparation that gives you the belief that tomorrow is gong to be a better day than the last," he said. "Ultimately, fans want the results, and that's what they deserve. But nobody here can promise them."
Tracy relaxing pitch-count limit
ST. LOUIS -- Manager Jim Tracy said on Tuesday that he is relaxing the 75-pitch limit for the pitchers in his four-starter system.Going into Tuesday night's game with the Cardinals, three pitchers -- Jeff Francis, who started on Tuesday, Christian Friedrich and Drew Pomeranz -- were coming off strong outings, but none went beyond six innings because of the pitch count. If a starter leaves a game too early for Tracy to get to a back end of the bullpen that has been generally strong, important innings could wind up in the hands of pitchers who are in the bullpen because they either struggled as starters or were deemed not ready to start. If a starter is going well, Tracy wants to have the flexibility to let him go until it makes sense to use such late-game relievers as Matt Belisle and Rex Brothers. Tracy has relaxed the pitch count somewhat in a few of the starts, and the pitchers have adjusted by shortening their bullpen sessions before the next outing. Tracy believes the pitchers can handle a higher pitch count. "When the information comes back to me in my office that says [a pitcher] feels great, he's doing fine, that's what you're encouraged by," Tracy said. "You think as we go along here, the volume can increase. "As we go along and they're commanding the strike zone the way we've seen it done in a few of the games, hopefully they can go out there and take an extra 10 pitches, to 85 or whatever it might be. You've got to get in the strike zone and keep the ebb and flow of the game going the way it's supposed to go."
Bench coach Tom Runnells will attend All-Star Weekend and pitch to outfielder Carlos Gonzalez in the State Farm Home Run Derby. Catcher Ramon Hernandez (strained left hand) will leave on Wednesday for Triple-A Colorado Springs to begin a rehab assignment. Right-hander Juan Nicasio (strained left knee) threw a 40-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday and performed agility drills at Busch Stadium. He will throw a simulated game at Busch Stadium on Thursday. There's no word as to when he will begin a rehab assignment.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.