3/23/2014 9:23 P.M. ET
Barnes, Wheeler recipients of Abby Greer Award
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies named outfielders Brandon Barnes and Tim Wheeler as co-winners of the 11th annual Abby Greer Award for Spring Training excellence.
The award is often but not always given to a product of the Minor League system who has yet to break in as a big leaguer. Barnes, however, spent most of last year in the Majors with the Astros and came, along with right-hander Jordan Lyles, for outfielder Dexter Fowler. Wheeler fits with most of the winners. He was a supplemental first-round pick in 2009 who dealt with a hand injury in 2012 and low production in '13, but has produced big so far this Spring Training.
Barnes, 27, came to camp uncertain if he'd make the team, but has put himself in solid position for a utility outfield spot. Heading into Sunday's game against the White Sox at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, which he started in left field and was the Rockies' leadoff hitter, Barnes was hitting .370 with a .396 on-base percentage in 46 at-bats, with one home run, three doubles and three RBIs.
Wheeler, 26, was removed from the 40-man Major League roster over the winter after a right wrist injury in 2012 and bad swing habits after returning led to two subpar years. But this spring, Wheeler is batting .395 with four home runs, eight RBIs and five doubles and eight RBIs in 38 at-bats.
It's the third time the award has had co-winners -- Jonathan Herrera and Mike Paulk in 2010, and Ben Paulsen and Rex Brothers in '11. Other previous winners were Luis A. Gonzalez in 2004, Cory Sullivan in '05, Ian Stewart in '06, Troy Tulowitzki in '07, Jayson Nix in '08, Ryan Spilborghs in '09, bench coach Tom Runnells in '12 and Corey Dickerson last season.
The award was named for Abby Greer, a 6-year-old fan who lost her life in an accident after a Rockies game on Aug. 26, 2003.
Rosario sees more action at first base
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Wilin Rosario played credibly Sunday at first base -- which could be a way for the Rockies to keep his bat in the lineup on days he needs a break from catching. It was his first test of the spring at first base.
Shortstop Josh Rutledge picked up a grounder behind second base, spun and threw a bouncer that beat Adam Eaton, who was the first batter of the 5-5 tie with the White Sox. In the third inning, Rosario had a backhand scoop of third baseman Paul Janish's low throw to retire Paul Konerko.
During the offseason the Rockies floated the idea of Rosario playing some first base. But because of the presence of regular first baseman Justin Morneau and the fact Michael Cuddyer plays some first when not in right field, Rosario had not seen a Cactus League inning at first until Sunday. The Rockies also used Jordan Pacheco, Rosario's backup catcher and a player with extensive experience at first base, at the position Sunday.
Rosario has appeared in just five regular-season games at first base and he has three errors. The Rockies would like to make first base a possibility when they want to save him from some of the wear and tear of catching. They find it worth the risk, because he hit .292 with 21 home runs and 79 RBIs in just 121 games last season.
How much first base Rosario will play is unknown, but he said he doesn't believe he'll be used like the Indians' Carlos Santana, who played some first base last year and has played more games at third this spring than behind the plate.
"I don't see myself as a first baseman for now," Rosario said. "I see it as an opportunity to be in the lineup and help my team. They need my bat. I want them to know they can put me there. I want more opportunities to be at the plate."
Replay doesn't go Rockies' way
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In the top of the sixth inning on Sunday, Chicago's Adam Eaton stole second base, beating Michael McKenry's throw. But Eaton bounced off the bag and appeared to be tagged out. Rockies manager Walt Weiss challenged, but the call was upheld because umpires ruled the replay inconclusive.
Weiss said after the game he had not been showed the play, but heard that the video seemed to contradict the final ruling.
"That's what I heard," Weiss said. "I think it's going to be a very different story during the season, because we're going to have 12 camera angles as opposed to the two or three that we have in Spring Training."
The decision took 1 minute, 7 seconds. Weiss talked at length after the game, not just about that call but about rules and communication with the league office, with MLB executive Tony La Russa.
Logan hoping to be ready by start of season
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hande Boone Logan issued a nine-pitch walk in a left-on-left matchup in a Minor League game on Saturday, and remains cautiously optimistic he will be ready for the start of the regular season.
Logan is scheduled for one inning or 25 pitches in a Minor League game Monday.
Logan had surgery to remove a bone spur and chips from his throwing elbow at the end of last season, when he pitched through pain for 61 appearances for the Yankees last season (5-2, 3.23 ERA). He signed a three-year, $16.5 million deal with the Rockies, who planned all along to make sure he would be fully ready whenever he took the mound during the regular season.
Time is short for him to do enough work to prove he can pitch in the Majors to start the season. Logan threw 2/3 of an inning in a Cactus League game on Thursday.
The Rockies are protecting themselves by using Logan in Minor League games. If he doesn't appear in another Cactus League game and the Rockies deem him not ready to start the season, they can put him on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Friday. That would allow him to be eligible to return on April 5 against the D-backs in the second home game of the regular season.
But Logan does not believe the DL will be necessary.
"That's just me speaking," Logan said. "Personally, I don't like seeing it any other way. But I know I've got to be true to everybody when the time comes to make a decision. Hopefully, in my mind, I'll be ready. But it's going to be down to the wire."
If Logan can't start with the Rockies, it could affect their roster makeup. If left-hander Franklin Morales makes the starting rotation and Logan is able to pitch, it would leave Rex Brothers -- the primary setup man and occasional closer depending on matchups -- as the bullpen's only lefty.
The Rockies could slide the versatile Morales to the bullpen and put righty Jordan Lyles in the rotation.
Or the Rockies could use the spot vacated by Logan for right-hander Tommy Kahnle, a Rule 5 pick from the Yankees who has had a stellar camp. The Rockies must keep Kahnle on their 25-man roster for the entire season or else they are required to offer him back to the Yankees for $25,000 -- half the amount the Rockies made for the Rule 5 pick.
Logan said he was pleased Saturday "with a lot of my pitches, the way I felt and the strength I felt."
Using him for one hitter was planned, because the Rockies want to mimic how he'll be used in the regular season. But one test that hasn't been scheduled by the Rockies and their training staff is pitching on consecutive days.
"I don't think it's totally necessary, but we're going to do what we need to do to make sure we're ready for the start of the season," Logan said. "We're not going to cut any corners. If we feel like we need to, we'll find time to do that."
Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said the Rockies are "going along as if he's going to be on the Opening Day roster, but there's always the possibility of maybe needing a few more outings."
Arenado participates in fielding activities
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said it was fortunate that a pitch from Indians right-hander Corey Kluber on Saturday missed his fingers and hit him on the left hand.
X-rays confirmed that there was no break. Arenado's status is officially day to day, but said he had full mobility, and he participated in fielding activities on Sunday but did not hit.
"I've just been icing it and it feels fine -- I can move it fine, I can squeeze it hard and it doesn't hurt," Arenado said. "It's bruised, obviously, but other than that, it's not that bad.
"It hit me more in the palm of the hand instead of the bones, so I got lucky. It worked out. It was a little scary when it first happened. But I knew I was OK because I started moving my hand after I got hit, and it felt fine. No sharp pain came."
Arenado had doubled twice off Kluber to lift his Cactus League batting average to .341. The Rockies are hoping for a step forward offensively from Arenado, who became the first rookie third baseman in National League history to earn a Rawlings Gold Glove Award, but he hit .267 with 10 home runs and 52 RBIs. Arenado was known more for his offense in the Minors. Now that his hand survived Saturday's scare, he can continue working toward improvement with the bat.
"It should be only a day -- I might be able to hit today, we'll see," Arenado said. "I'm not too worried about it. I'm just trying to find that stroke and get it down. It's getting there. I'll be fine for the season."
Lyles pleased with Saturday performance
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles concentrated on breaking pitches and felt good about his 4 2/3-inning outing against the Indians on Saturday.
Lyles gave up five runs, but just two were earned, in the eventual 14-6 Rockies victory. The fifth inning featured errors by catcher Jordan Pacheco and first baseman Justin Morneau, and the Indians ended up with four runs. Lyles did escape trouble the previous inning.
"I thought I did a pretty good job," said Lyles, who has a 3.18 spring ERA. "We had a double, then another double, then got a big strikeout with a guy on third with less than two outs, then we got another strikeout. We did a good job minimizing the damage before it escalated. I thought Pacheco and I handled the situation pretty good."
A pitcher with the Astros the last three seasons before joining the Rockies along with outfielder Brandon Barnes in a trade for center fielder Dexter Fowler, Lyles, began camp working on a small delivery flaw that robbed him of downward motion on his fastball. That project went well, then he moved to the curve.
"Going into the start yesterday, I felt like the curveball hadn't been there because I was focusing on inside and out with the fastball," Lyles said. "The gameplan was to throw 15-20 curveballs, and make sure I got them to finish up under the zone, not arm side up and out. I threw probably around 20 of them and maybe two or three were left up over the zone. It was a pretty good day in that aspect."
Lyles is competing with left-hander Franklin Morales for the final open spot in the rotation. Morales could go to the bullpen. But if Lyles doesn't win the job, he'll likely be sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs as a starter.