3/6/2013 10:47 P.M. ET
Rockies' catchers connecting on, off the field
By Rafael Rojas Cremonesi / Special to MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The corner of the Rockies' clubhouse where the catchers have their lockers is full of camaraderie. Between jokes and conversation, time passes, and those who play this position connect even more.
They have different ages and life experiences, but they have a language and culture in common. The group includes Jose Gonzalez; Wilin Rosario, who already has a little more than a full season of Major League experience; Gustavo Molina, who is looking to establish himself more consistently in the Majors after brief stints with the White Sox, Yankees and Red Sox; and veterans Yorvit Torrealba and Ramon Hernandez.
"I'm happy to find myself once again being a part of the team in which I had arguably my best years in the Major Leagues," Torrealba said.
Rockies fans are very fond of Torrealba, a member of the 2007 team that went to the World Series.
"All our catchers are Latin now," he added. "Four Venezuelans -- Hernandez, Molina, Gonzalez and myself -- [and] Wilin, who's Dominican, but we are adopting him as one more Venezuelan these days. There's great communication among us. Our language and our way of being helps us in understanding each other better."
And that has also been beneficial for the Rockies.
Hernandez was acquired before the 2012 season, in part to serve as a mentor of sorts to Rosario, who has a lot of experience to gain, being only 23 years old. Rosario has great offensive potential, but he still has to prove that he can be a solid defensive backstop.
Rosario also works with Torrealba.
"I have spoken with Wilin a lot," said Torrealba. "I have tried to help him defensively. He's great when it comes to grabbing a bat; he proved it last season. He still has to be as confident behind the plate as he is at it. He has admitted it himself. He stands at the plate and, regardless of the pitcher he's facing, he feels he can send it away from the yard.
"Behind the plate he acts like he's more of a soccer goalie than a baseball catcher sometimes. He has to be more confident in his defensive abilities and remind himself he is capable of doing the job. We have over a week working together, and he has improved a bit, especially when it comes to blocking pitches."
With his performance thus far during Spring Training, Rosario has shown that he's listening to Torrealba. He handles pitchers with more maturity, something he attributes to his offensive work in the Dominican Republic and, now, in Arizona, with both Torrealba and Hernandez.
"It's true that I need to work on that," Rosario said. "I have done a lot of work in the Dominican with [former Major League catcher] Alberto Castillo, who has given me a lot of advice and has been a major support. Now, with the Rockies, I cannot have better mentors than Yorvit and Ramon. I will keep on learning from them. That's what I have to do now, and I'm happy to be able to count on both of them."
Molina signed a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training during the winter, while he was playing in Venezuela with Caribes de Anzoategui. The native of La Guaira hopes he can get a chance with the Major League team, a hope that cannot be discounted despite the current depth in the roster.
"You will find teams with a lot of pieces in a certain position," Molina said. "When it comes to the Rockies, you see we have plenty of catchers. This is not new for me. When I went to Yankees camp, there were many top-notch catchers, and that didn't stop me from having a chance. Each and every one of us are making our best efforts in a healthy competition, so I can have an opportunity, just like each one of us."
Rafael Rojas Cremonesi is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.