04/01/12 7:20 PM ET
Rosario earns backup catcher slot on roster
Veteran Nieves, three others optioned to Minors
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Because Hernandez turns 36 on May 20 and hasn't appeared in as many as 100 games since 2008, there should be a balance of playing time and learning time for Rosario.A few days ago, Rockies manager Jim Tracy gave Rosario a passing grade on his progress. "Defensively is the thing over the last several days that I've been most impressed with," Tracy said. "He's really cleaned up a lot of things from earlier in the spring. There was some sloppiness reminiscent of some of the things we saw in September last year. "And his relationship with Ramon Hernandez -- I see that every morning -- has been intriguing to me." Additionally, there could be more hitting opportunities for Rosario than many backup catchers. Third baseman Jordan Pacheco also is a catcher, which means Tracy is free to use either in a pinch-hitting role without fearing being left short behind the plate. Nieves, 34, hit .381 in 16 games, with a home run and one RBI. Harris, 31, hit .321 with two doubles and two RBIs. Wood, 27, after a strong start, hit .255 with four doubles, two triple and five RBIs. Escalona, 25, went 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA with 12 strikeouts and four walks in eight spring appearances.
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.