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Rockies release Blake, go with Nelson and Pacheco

The Sports Xchange
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--3B Casey Blake was released on March 27, a move that means the Rockies will open the season with Chris Nelson and Jordan Pacheco, both young right-handed hitters, sharing time at the position. Blake, 38, was signed to a minor league contract that would have brought him a $2-million salary had he made the big league roster. He was coming off a season when he was limited to 63 games with the Dodgers because of various injuries, including season-ending neck surgery in September. Neck soreness sidelined Blake for about a week earlier this month, and he was never able to get untracked offensively. He began the spring 0-for-14 before having a two-hit game March 23 and hitting a two-run homer March 25. Blake finished the spring 3-for-20 (.150). The Rockies were hoping Blake could provide a bridge until 3B prospect Nolan Arenado, who turns 21 on April 16, is ready for the big leagues, perhaps by midseason. "I understand the decision," Blake said. "I appreciated the opportunity and wish them success."

--The Rockies are considering opening the season with four starters and not use LHP Drew Pomeranz until April 15, when they need a fifth starter in the ninth game of the season. The Rockies want to limit the innings, the 160-170 inning range would be an ideal maximum, for Pomeranz, 23, who is entering his second professional season and ended up throwing 119 1/3 innings last year at the high Class A, Class AA and big-league levels.

--C Wilin Rosario began the spring 1-for-8 in his first four games but through March 29 was 18-for-39 (.462) with four doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI. Just as encouraging, he had struck out only four times. Rosario has worked diligently to shorten his swing and appears on the verge of making the Opening Day roster as a backup to Ramon Hernandez. In that case, the Rockies would play Rosario, 23, a few times a week. But keeping Jordan Pacheco on the roster with Rosario would give manager Jim Tracy the option of a third catcher. That's because Pacheco can catch, meaning Tracy could pinch hit Rosario or Pacheco (or Hernandez when he doesn't start) and still have a second catcher.

--RHP Alex White is competing for a bullpen job, having been told that is his best chance of making the Opening Day roster. "As soon as I was drafted (in the first round by the Indians in 2009), that was the first thing people said, that I was going to the bullpen," White said. "I had to prove my first couple years of pro ball that I could start. I wanted to be a starter. But to get to this level, it's a very fine line. We think my best role right now is in the bullpen, and that's something I'm going to try to do as well as I can."

White, who was acquired from the Indians in the trade-deadline deal that sent RHP Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland, threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts March 25, the day it was announced he was no longer a candidate for the rotation, and one scoreless inning March 28. After the March 25 outing, manager Jim Tracy said: "He had a very live fastball, was throwing strikes. He did a very good job of locating his breaking ball, but he did throw some sliders that had more side-to-side action than they did depth. You'd like to see a little bit of depth to that slider, because if the ball is not as well located, those things get hit real hard, and sometimes real far. But definitely a big step forward, as good an outing as he's had this spring." Tracy said the Rockies haven't decided whether White will start at Triple-A Colorado Springs if he doesn't begin the season with the Rockies.

BY THE NUMBERS
.403 -- OF Tyler Colvin's spring batting average through April 1 (25-for-62).

QUOTE TO NOTE
"There are no issues with Jamie Moyer's arm. Zero. Jamie Moyer's body and how he feels, how his legs bounce back, those are all important aspects." -- Manager Jim Tracy, on his 49-year-old No. 2 starter.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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