SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies catcher Miguel Olivo just completed a month in which he hit .291, leads all National League catchers with five home runs and has thrown out a Major League-high seven would-be basestealers.All this, and he's best known as the guy who passed a kidney stone during a game in Colorado recently. "It came out so fast," Olivo said. "It was a little one so I was lucky. I had surgery for kidney stones when I was in Seattle." Called the "toughest man in baseball" by one television personality, Olivo helped keep the Rockies swimming at the .500 level through April, a month which had generally been his cruelest. Olivo entered this year with a career mark of .220 in the month of April, 11 home runs and 54 RBIs. The average was his lowest of any month. That distinction now belongs to July after Olivo's favorable numbers this opening month. "I feel the stroke," Olivo said. "I've worked hard on my hitting, mostly because this is such a good group of guys and they get me excited about playing here."
Tracy satisfied with Francis' progress
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy was encouraged from reports concerning left-hander Jeff Francis' outing during an extended spring training game on Saturday."He was fine, and his velocity at this point was right where it needs to be," Tracy said on Sunday before the Rockies took on the Giants. "When he's done with each outing, he's complaining about nothing." Francis, who missed last season because of arthroscopic shoulder surgery, was healthy all spring until suffering tightness in his left shoulder late in March. His imminent return would bolster a pitching staff beset by injuries, which necessitated the Rockies starting rookie pitchers on consecutive days for the first time in nearly three years, with Esmil Rogers going on Saturday and Jhoulys Chacin starting Sunday. Francis is scheduled to pitch for Double-A Tulsa on Thursday evening when the Drillers host Arkansas. "We'll assess afterward what he needs," Tracy said. "We're not in a hurry." Right-hander Huston Street (right shoulder inflammation) threw off the slope of a mound on Saturday and will throw batting practice on Tuesday. Jason Hammel is scheduled to throw a bullpen during the Rockies' series in San Diego, which begins Monday.
Tracy warns against trying for homers
SAN FRANCISCO -- After Saturday's loss to the San Francisco Giants, Rockies manager Jim Tracy expressed concern that his club was trying too hard to hit home runs.Colorado entered Sunday's game ranked fifth in the National League with 26 home runs, yet just one has been hit from the third and fourth spots in the lineup. While those are traditionally spots in the lineup where home runs are expected, hitting them is not necessarily an indication of power. Giants special assistant Will Clark addressed a group of Little League players before the game and told them in many cases hitting a home run "is a mistake," he said. "When you see high fly balls go out of the park, that's a mistake." Doubles to the gap are a better indication of power -- the Rockies have 51 of those -- because it means the hitter is getting the barrel of the bat squarely on the ball. "I don't care if we never hit another home run the rest of the season as long as we score more runs," said Tracy. "If we barrel up the ball, we'll hit some. Right now, our approach is not conducive to any kind of consistent success. Consistency wins, period."
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.