8/17/2013 12:12 A.M. ET
Rockies in favor of expanded replay
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Rockies players and manager Walt Weiss applauded Major League Baseball's move toward expanding the instant replay system by 2014, even though one of the golden moments in club history has been offered -- incorrectly -- as an example of a call that should have been changed.
Matt Holliday scoring the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the 13th inning of the 2007 Wild Card play-in game against the Padres was one of the most debated plays in recent history. The argument is that Holliday never touched home plate.
Even with that debate a part of baseball lore, Rockies first baseman Todd Helton welcomed the proposed system, which gives managers one challenge in innings 1-6, and two thereafter. A crew in New York would be responsible for the replay decisions. Owners will vote formally in November (75 percent is needed to pass the change), and the MLB Players Association and the umpires' union must also agree.
"Hopefully it doesn't slow down the game, but it's about time to try it out and see how it works," Helton said. "I think everybody wants it to be right, even the umpires. Umpires don't like to be wrong, either."
Rockies manager Walt Weis welcomed it, but warned that managers may use challenges for strategic purposes, such as giving pitchers extra warmup time or trying to change momentum.
"I'm sure there will be a lot of games within that game," Weiss said. "But the technology and the research, they've spent a lot of time on it."
Since 2007, many -- especially Padres fans -- have devoted websites to angles that showed Holliday never touched the plate after colliding with Padres catcher Michael Barrett. Plate umpire Tim McClelland ruled Holliday safe.
However, Barrett did not hold onto the throw and never picked up the ball and tagged Holliday. If the proposed rule were in place, Barrett would have had to retrieve the ball and tag Holliday to make the play reviewable, and a conclusive angle would have had to be found in a reasonable time period.
As it turned out, the Rockies marched to the World Series, while the Padres were left wondering.
"They're still talking about that?" said veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba, who was with the Rockies that night and also played briefly for the Padres. "Me being a catcher, all you can do is get the ball and tag him. But they just walked off the field."
Of course, replay goes two ways. In the seventh inning of that game, the Rockies' Garrett Atkins hit a line drive that hit an object beyond the left-field wall and bounced back into play, but umpires ruled no homer. That was before the current replay system, which allows home runs to be reviewed.
The Rockies didn't score in the inning. Had the call been overturned, there may not have been a 13th-inning slide. But while Holliday's play is remembered, some of the Rockies who were a part of that game -- Helton, Torrealba, even Rockies owner and CEO Dick Monfort -- said they didn't remember Atkins' liner.
In the 2009 NL Division Series, the Phillies' come-from-behind, Game 3 victory over Colorado was aided by a blown call. Chase Utley sparked a rally with a single that should have been ruled foul because the ball hit him while in the batter's box.
"That's the past," said Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler, who was a part of that game and the series, which the Phillies ended up winning, 3-1. "Replay will help the game going forward."
Betancourt to be activated; Chatwood, Oswalt to throw
BALTIMORE -- The Rockies will activate closer Rafael Betancourt, who has been out since undergoing an emergency appendectomy the day play resumed after the All-Star break, on Saturday.
Also, injured right-handed starters Tyler Chatwood and Roy Oswalt are expected to throw bullpen sessions on Saturday.
On Thursday, in his lone rehab appearance, Betancourt gave up two hits and a run for Triple-A Colorado Springs while appearing in a 7-1 victory over Memphis. Betancourt, who missed time earlier in the season with a right groin strain, is 2-3 with a 3.16 ERA and 15 saves in 16 chances in 28 appearances.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss said he will not commit to Betancourt being re-inserted into the closer role until meeting with the veteran right-hander. It's possible the Rockies will ease Betancourt back into the ninth inning. Lefty Rex Brothers is 11-for-12 in save chances, and hasn't blown one on the two occasions he has filled in for Betancourt this year. But Brothers gave up a solo home run to Matt Wieters in the ninth inning of Friday's 6-3 win over the Orioles in a non-save situation.
"Physically, he felt fine throwing last night, so he's ready to go," Weiss said of Betancourt. "I have no problem throwing him right back in that closer role if he feels mentally he's ready to jump right back into the fire. I know that's probably what he's going to say, because that's who he is. He gives us some flexibility with Rex, too, if that's the case."
There has been an almost night-and-day difference in the performance of the bullpen with Betancourt and without. When he hasn't been available, roles have been shifted and the Rockies have suffered in middle and setup innings.
Chatwood was scratched twice during an Aug. 6-8 series with the Mets, first with a hamstring strain and then with the more troublesome injury, a right elbow impingement. Oswalt suffered a left hamstring strain during a July 7 game at Arizona, and suffered a setback during a simulated game on Aug. 10. If the bullpen sessions go well, both could progress to simulated games.
After illness, Cuddyer back at full strength
BALTIMORE -- Rockies All-Star right fielder/first baseman Michael Cuddyer reported on Friday that he has finally regained his strength. Cuddyer missed games on Monday and Tuesday because of a flu-like illness that has affected him, his wife and three children.
Cuddyer, who entered Friday hitting .324 with 17 home runs and 66 RBIs in 96 games, lost five pounds while ill. He played on Wednesday and Thursday, going a combined 0-for-4.
He was in the lineup in Friday's 6-3 win in Baltimore, batting fourth and playing right field. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored.
"My strength definitely wasn't there two days ago, so I feel like a new person," Cuddyer said. "Since our last game, I've been able to eat six full meals. Going into that day game on Wednesday, I only had a meal and a half since Saturday."
Rockies manager Walt Weiss said Cuddyer "looks himself again."
Rosario in lineup as DH after hamstring cramp
BALTIMORE -- After suffering a right hamstring cramp on Tuesday and sitting out Wednesday afternoon, Wilin Rosario returned to the Rockies' lineup on Friday night as designated hitter, while veteran Yorvit Torrealba started at catcher.
Rosario returned in style, hitting the go-ahead home run in the seventh inning of a 6-3 win over the Orioles. He also doubled and scored in the fifth.
Not even Rosario -- one of the Majors' most productive offensive catchers at .281, 16 home runs and 61 RBIs, entering Friday -- is certain how healthy his hamstring is. That'll be determined when he has to sprint out of the batter's box. After experiencing the cramping during his two-run single in Tuesday night's 7-5 loss to the Padres, Rosario was reduced to running at half-to-three-quarters speed for the rest of the game. Torrealba played Wednesday, and keyed the 5-2 victory by turning an unassisted double play on an unusual rundown.
"My hamstring is good, but I don't know," Rosario said. "We have to wait for that moment and let's see. If I say I can, what if I can't do it. Or if I say I can't do it, then you see me running hard. Then we'll see after the game how I feel."
Rosario said the hamstring is a bigger issue offensively than defensively, even though he is squatting behind the plate. Running delivers more stress to the muscle, he said.
• A scoring decision from the Rockies' 3-2 loss to the Mets on Aug. 6 has been changed to give shortstop Troy Tulowitzki a hit. It was originally called an error on Mets third baseman Wilmer Torres. The play occurred in the top of the sixth inning. No runs scored after the play. The Elias Sports Bureau, MLB's official stats service, announced the change on Friday.
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.