Tag:Ian Stewart
Posted on: May 13, 2011 9:45 pm
Edited on: May 13, 2011 11:34 pm
 

Rockies demote Stewart, get Wigginton back

By Evan Brunell

Killebrew Ian Stewart's time in Colorado might be done as the third baseman was demoted back to Triple-A after his latest stint ended in a 1-for-21 showing, bringing his overall batting average to .064 with three hits in 64 at-bats.

"I know I'm at a crossroads with the team," Stewart told the Denver Post. "Hopefully it goes the right way because I don't want to go anywhere else. This is where all my friends are. It's everything I know."

Stewart did admit that the possibility of a trade was broached friday morning in a meeting with GM Dan O'Down and manager Jim Tracy.
It's clear that Stewart has nothing left to prove at Triple-A, but for whatever reason just isn't putting it together at the major-league level, and it's time for him to move on and see if he can turn things around elsewhere. There's the potential in Stewart to bash 30 home runs and drive in 100, but Colorado's doesn't appear to be the place, with Tracy delivering harsh words recently about Stewart's production and intimating it may be time for Stewart to move on if he can't turn things around, which may have been an attempt to motivate him.

"They said 'We're not going to trade you," said Stewart. "They still feel like I can be a big part of the organization. But it's like Tracy said, it's time to fish or cut bait, so we'll see.

"I don't get the sense they're just ready to let me go at the snap of a finger. I get the sense they still believe in me and they feel like I can help this organization out this year."

Part of Stewart's issues are that he feels he has not received consistent playing time to show what he can do.

"It's tough," he said. "It weighs on your mind big time when you've had success up here and you know what the organization expects from you and you expect from yourself and it just doesn't show up. It's tough when you look up at the scoreboard and see your numbers."

Now, Tracy says the just-activated Ty Wigginton (pictured) will receive the majority of starts at third, although Jose Lopez and Jonathan Herrera should snag some time at the spot. And the Rockies are hoping that Wigginton can kick off a hot streak to help withstand Colorado's struggles. Wiggy's 13 home runs last April and May before tailing off indicated to the Rockies that he could carry a team for a bit, and that's exactly what they're hoping happens.

“We’re looking for a hot hand, it’s that simple,’’ Tracy told the Post. “Obviously, with what we have going on right now on the offensive side of things, it’s a guy you certainly want to take a shot with and plug in there and see if he can be helpful in getting us jump started.’’

Wigginton had a .233/.309/.383 line in 69 plate appearances before going down with an oblique injury. He is in Friday's game at third batting sixth.

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Posted on: May 8, 2011 3:50 pm
 

Rockies' Tracy fumes, calls out Stewart

By Matt Snyder

On the heels of losing three straight games in walk-off fashion -- and losing three straight series -- Rockies' manager Jim Tracy is not happy.

"We haven't played worth a [expletive] the last two-plus weeks," Tracy said Sunday, as his still first-place team prepared to face the second-place Giants. But simply clinging to first place isn't enough to set his mind at ease.

“We have long graduated from trying to just be good. We aren’t interested in that. And if guys want to stay around here, they have to look in the mirror and do better,” he said. (Denver Post )

Specifically, Tracy has an issue with Ian Stewart. The 26-year-old third baseman was once one of the top prospects in all of baseball, but has not developed as the Rockies hoped. In fact, he's regressed. In 2009, Stewart hit 25 home runs and drove home 70 in 425 at-bats. This season, Stewart is hitting .079 with an embarrassing .291 OPS. He's struck out 16 times while only collecting three hits and one RBI in 38 at-bats. He did hit well in a quick minor-league stint earlier this season, but 1-15 since his return to the majors.

“I don’t want Ian to hit eighth. But unfortunately he’s not giving me much choice,” Tracy said. “We are getting to the point with him that’s it time for him to fish or cut bait. He’s either going to play his way in or play his way off the team.”

Well, he's certainly doing the latter right now, that's for sure. As long as Tracy continues to put Stewart in the lineup, though, he's got a shot to turn things around.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 29, 2011 12:40 pm
 

Wigginton suffers oblique injury

By Evan Brunell

WiggintonTy Wigginton has long been coveted by the Rockies, as they were a popular name attached to the utilityman last season at the trade deadline, when Wiggy was in Baltimore.

Having signed with Colorado as a free agent, Wigginton opened the year on the bench although his versatility and ability to hit left-handers got him in the lineup plenty of times. However, he moved into the starting lineup more frequently when third baseman Ian Stewart was demoted to Triple-A.

Unfortunately for Wigginton, he suffered an oblique injury Tuesday after his best game as a Rockie, delivering a 3-for-4 night with a home run. Oblique injuries have swept baseball, leaving many scrambling to find out why.

The injury occurred on a slide into second base, as Wiggington relays to the Denver Post. "I reached up with my arm because the throw was off line as I was getting close to the bag and felt something," Wigginton said. "It's tough."

The 33-year-old believes he will be able to avoid the disabled list, which the Rockies certainly would love so they don't have to dip down to Triple-A for Stewart, Chris Nelson or Eric Young, Jr. In the interim, Colorado can start Jose Lopez at the spot, who has been sharing time with Wiggy at the hot corner as Jonathan Herrera has the second base job on lockdown.

While the team doesn't necessarily have to make a move for an infielder, the Rockies may do just that given back-to-back off days after a postponement of Thursday's game followed by an off day Friday. Colorado has been carrying 13 pitches and there's really no need for that at this point, and doubly so when the pitching staff will receive two straight off days. That could cause the dip down for Stewart, Nelson or Young to round out the bench.

Stewart was supposed to start at third all year for the club, but a poor start caused the team to give up in a year where success was being predicted. He's bounced back so far, but do the Rockies really want to jerk him right back to the majors and put him in a bench role? No, that role is far better served for Nelson or Young.

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 5:56 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 9:35 pm
 

Five teams to improve, five to decline in 2011

By Matt Snyder

Finally, spring training is concluding. Now we have a day or two before your favorite team begins play. In the meantime, I'm here to bring you the top five teams to decline and the top five to improve upon their 2010 performances. In return, you accuse me of bias and call me names. It's fun for everyone, really. One thing to keep in mind is that improving or declining by more than 10 games is pretty drastic. On some of these, I'm looking at something like a seven-game swing.

TOP FIVE TEAMS TO IMPROVE

1. Boston Red Sox. Well, let's see ... Last season Kevin Youkilis only played 102 games, Dustin Pedroia saw action in 75 and Jacoby Ellsbury just 18. Josh Beckett was either injured or ineffective all season. Meanwhile the Red Sox added Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to a team that won 89 games, despite all those injury woes -- and some underachieving from people like John Lackey. Easiest call on the board here, and even Yankees fans would have to concede this team is loaded.

2. Oakland A's. The pitching staff is stellar, even including the bullpen. The starting rotation is already really good and only getting better. The A's won 81 with one of the worst offenses in baseball last season. A full season of Coco Crisp, Kurt Suzuki bouncing back and the additions of Hideki Matsui and Josh Willingham don't exactly sound like adding Gonzalez and Crawford, but small improvements will do wonders for the pitching staff. Slugger Chris Carter is waiting in the wings, too, and don't be surprised if Billy Beane adds a bat at the deadline.

3. Colorado Rockies. Troy Tulowitzki needs to stay healthy and Dexter Fowler needs to get closer to his ceiling. I'm going out on a limb that both happen, along with steps forward from Chris Iannetta and Ian Stewart. Watch Jhoulys Chacin's development in the starting rotation, too. He's got big potential.

4. Milwaukee Brewers. This is contingent upon the big names staying healthy and Zack Greinke getting healthy as soon as possible, because this team is paper-thin. But the top line is very impressive. Plus, the division is not very good at all. The Brewers are going to score runs, get good starting pitching (again, assuming the health thing) and have a good back-end of the bullpen. If they can overcome defense and depth deficiencies, they'll win the Central.

5. Florida Marlins. Call it a bit of a gut call, but I really like the Marlins. The rotation really has great potential with Javier Vazquez returning to a pitcher's park in the NL East (he's apparently too intimidated by being a Yankee) and Ricky Nolasco having the ability to be a true No. 2 if he can ever stay consistent. Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad have -- again, this word -- potential to be solid at the end, with stud Josh Johnson leading the five-some. I love the outfield potential of Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton, so long as all three can stay healthy. Hanley Ramirez is primed to have a big season, too.

TOP FIVE TEAMS TO DECLINE

1. San Diego Padres. Removing Gonzalez from the middle of the batting order changes the complexion of everything. And Mat Latos is already hurt, which does nothing to alleviate the concern of the huge workload increase he's experienced over the past two seasons. Most of all, the Padres just seem outmanned by the Giants and Rockies. Winning close to 90 games seems outlandish. Of course, many people said that last year, too.

2. Houston Astros. They overachieved in a big way last season according to run differential (the 'Stros allowed 118 more runs than they scored) and aren't any better. Other than Hunter Pence, the position players are either getting old (Carlos Lee), still unproven (Brett Wallace) or just not that good (Jason Michaels, Bill Hall, Michael Bourn). I'm not a huge fan of the rotation, but it's going to have to carry the team. Good luck with that.

3. Tampa Bay Rays. This is difficult. It's hard to not love the Rays for being so good at sticking with the Yankees and Red Sox in the mighty AL East on that paltry payroll. The loss of Crawford hurts. Carlos Pena wasn't overly productive -- though he was much better than his batting average said -- last season, but his presence helps everyone else see better pitches. That goes away with Dan Johnson at first. The loss of Matt Garza isn't a big deal, so long as Jeremy Hellickson does his thing and James Shields returns to form. The bullpen is worse, though. Look, I'd pick the Rays to win the NL Central if they were in it, but the Yankees aren't any worse and the Red Sox are way better. The Orioles should be better as well. I think the Rays win in the ballpark of 86 games, but that's 10 worse than last year and good for third place.

4. Toronto Blue Jays. They're still building and are moving in the right direction, but winning 85 games again in that division is a very tall order. Any offensive bounce-back from the likes of Aaron Hill and Adam Lind is negated by Jose Bautista's return to this planet.

5. St. Louis Cardinals. If anyone can pull this off, it's Dave Duncan, but losing Adam Wainwright was a death blow. Chris Carpenter is old and injury-prone. Jaime Garcia is due a massive regression. Kyle Lohse was awful last year and Jake Westbrook doesn't have good stuff. Kyle McClellan could very well prove a solid No. 5 starter, but he hasn't exceeded 75 2/3 innings the past three seasons in the bullpen. Can he really double that and remain effective? The outfield defense won't do the staff any favors, either. The Pujols/Holliday/Rasmus combo -- and even Lance Berkman in a best-case scenario -- is very solid, but there's only going to be so much they can do on some nights. I feel like mid-to-high 70s in wins, but Duncan and Tony La Russa find ways to make people wrong often.

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Posted on: November 21, 2010 4:53 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2010 5:33 pm
 

Rockies determined to contend, need improvements

de la Rosa In 2010, the Rockies tried to make another attempt at a late-season surge that has become a trademark, but fell far short in finishing 83-79, nine games out of first.

They were one-and-a-half behind first place on Sept. 20, so that's quite a dizzying decline.

"We fell off the face of the earth," Rockies president Dick Monfort admitted to the Denver Post .

The Rockies don't plan to fall off the face again, although they'll have work on their hands to avoid that. The first priority is finding a way to replace starter Jorge de la Rosa, who looks certain to depart as a free agent. Colorado isn't willing to go more than three years for the talented but inconsistent lefty.

"[De la Rosa] told us a minimum of five years. We think [it will end up] four, but we aren't willing to do four," Monfort stated. "At three we would look at it. ... We are worried about his commitment if we go four. How would he respond to that?"

Colorado is concerned about de la Rosa's commitment after showing up to spring training in 2009 out of shape, but he may have turned a corner last season after giving birth to Twins. However, you can't base the next four-to-five years off one season of being in good condition.

The opening de la Rosa (pictured) has left in the rotation is stressing out GM Dan O'Dowd, as Monfort reveals, but it is what it is. Colorado is exporing replacing de la Rosa with a veteran along the lines of Carl Pavano, Jon Garland, Javier Vazquez, Aaron Harang, Dave Bush and Kevin Millwood in free agency. On the trade front, Gavin Floyd, Scott Kazmir and James Shields have been bandied about. The club acquired Felipe Paulino from the Astros in exchange for Clint Barmes this past week.

The Rockies also are considering adding a big bat, such as catcher Victor Martinez or Arizona's Justin Upton.

However, even if the club does import a bat, it's imperative for current Rockies of Todd Helton, Ian Stewart, Chris Iannetta and Seth Smith to improve.

Helton seems ticked for the Hall of Fame, but for now has a contract through 2013 and needs to step up after struggling to a .256/.362/.367 line in 473 plate appearances. While Helton's contract is no longer backbreaking thanks to a restructuring, he still is expected to produce.

"We need someone that can protect us at first base. But we still are all hoping Todd [bounces] back. I think he can. We don't expect a lot of power. Just those 12-pitch at-bats, getting on base," Monfort said. "That's the guy we missed."

Iannetta, meanwhile, figures to open the year as starting catcher after the club cut ties with Miguel Olivo. With a long-term contract in tow, the Rockies need Iannetta to step up and produce in the majors, not just in the minors. Meanwhile, outfielder Seth Smith struggled after finally getting his wish of being a starter.

And Ian Stewart is expected to be a 30-home run, 100-RBI producer, but hit 18 home runs in 2010, including with almost a month of time missed to injury. Stewart holds the key to the team, as Monfort reveals.

"If he can become a 30-home run, 100-RBI guy, we could win the division," Monfort said. "We need those guys to step up. Iannetta needs to respond. Smith wanted to be a starter, then struggled. We are hoping that [new hitting coach] Carney [Lansford] will be a little more forceful with them. They need to get it done."

It took the Rockies 12 seasons to get back to the playoffs after losing the division series in 1995 after the 1993 inception of the club. They have no interest in another prolonged drought, especially with Ubaldo Jimenez, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki's contracts affording the Rockies just a three-to-four year window of contention, unless Colorado comes up with the funds to resign the trio.

However, with a modest payroll ($86 million in 2010), the Rockies may not be able to do that. To raise payroll, ticket prices would have to be raised, and that has not happened in years.

The time to win is now in Colorado.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: November 4, 2010 4:19 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:32 pm
 

Bruce, O'Day among Super Twos

Brad Ziegler, the right-handed sidearmed reliever, is the lucky winner of the Super Two cutoff date this year with two years, 122 days of service time, according to the list sent to agents by the MLB Players Association. Super Two qualify for salary arbitration early.

The cutoff this season is lower than it has been in recent years, perhaps indicating that teams are getting more and more careful about how soon they bring up players in attempts to put off arbitration as long as possible.

Leading the list is Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria, who has already been signed to a long-term deal, a deal that's looking better and better by the day for the Rays.

Here's the list:

Jay Bruce Player 2009 Club Total Service
Evan Longoria Tampa Bay 2.170
Jim Johnson Baltimore 2.165
Felipe Paulino Houston 2.163
Josh Fields Kansas City 2.159
Kyle Kendrick Philadelphia 2.159
Sean White Seattle 2.156
Ian Stewart Colorado 2.154
Dana Eveland* Pittsburgh 2.152
Luke Hochevar Kansas City 2.151
Armando Galarraga Detroit 2.148
Burke Badenhop Florida 2.143
Ross Ohlendorf Pittsburgh 2.139
Chris Perez Cleveland 2.136
Alberto Gonzalez Washington 2.135
Jensen Lewis Cleveland 2.133
Darren O'Day Texas 2.128
Jay Bruce Cincinnati 2.125
Chase Headley San Diego 2.123
Travis Buck Oakland 2.123
Brad Ziegler Oakland 2.122
*outrighted

It appears that this is the best news for Bruce, O'Day and Perez, who will likely get the biggest bumps in salary from 2010 to 2011.

Of all those players, Bruce (pictured) may have had the best season, hitting .281/.353/.493 with 25 home runs. Perez recorded 23 saves and had a 1.71 ERA as the closer for the Indians once Kerry Wood was sent to the Yankees. O'Day was a valuable member of the Rangers' bullpen, appearing in 72 regular-season games and 11 postseason games. During the Regular season, he had a 2.03 ERA.

All three of those players made $440,000 or less last season.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: July 27, 2010 7:02 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2010 9:27 pm
 

Rockies closer Street injured by line drive


Huston Street Sounds like a scary scene in Denver, where Huston Street has been taken away in an ambulance this afternoon after being struck by a line drive during batting practice.

Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports via Twitter that Street was playing catch in the outfield when a line drive hit by teammate Ian Stewart struck him in the midsection. He was attended by trainers and taken away on a stretcher. Trainer Keith Dugger told Harding that Street was hit in the pelvic area and fainted "2 or 3 times" from pain. He was taken to Rose Medical Center in Denver.

It's amazing that this kind of injury doesn't happen all the time. Pitchers stand in the outfield while position players hit, and they play catch, stretch, chat and keep half an eye on the baseballs flying toward them. Hopefully this isn't a serious injury for Street, who just returned to action June 23 after missing 2 1/2 months with shoulder and groin problems.

We'll update as details become available.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: A more complete stpry is available via CBSSports.com wire services here.

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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