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Notes, Quotes

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Rockies' hot start includes surprising road success · Roster Report · Notes, Quotes

--OF Ryan Spilborghs started in center field Wednesday for the first time this season, as CF Dexter Fowler got a planned day off. Manager Jim Tracy's move paid off when Spilborghs hit his first homer of the season, a solo shot in the sixth inning that gave the Rockies a 5-3 lead over the Mets in a game Colorado won 5-4. Spilborghs had gone 3-for-16 in nine previous games but had batted more than once in just his two other starts. Spilborghs is a capable outfielder but not in the class of Carlos Gonzalez. However, Tracy said in spring training he would mostly use Gonzalez in left field, even though Gonzalez can play all three outfield positions very well.

--1B Todd Helton (lower back stiffness) returned to lineup for the first time since April 7 at Pittsburgh and went 2-for-4 with a double and a run-scoring single. In the previous four games, he made two pinch-hitting appearances and twice didn't play.

--RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (right thumb cuticle) is expected to be activated Monday and start against the Giants at Coors Field after pitching in a game in extended spring training Wednesday. Facing a team of A's minor-leaguers, Jimenez threw 81 pitches in five innings while allowing seven hits and two runs with two walks and three strikeouts. He hit 97 mph twice with his fastball and averaged 94 mph.

--RHP Alan Johnson did not make his start as scheduled Wednesday for Class AAA Colorado Springs, raising the possibility that Johnson, who is not on the 40-man roster, might make his major league debut and start Sunday for the Rockies against the Cubs. Tuesday's postponed game in New York moved RHP Esmil Rogers' start back to Wednesday, creating the need for the Rockies to find a starter from outside their regular rotation for Sunday. In his lone start this season, Johnson, 27, a non-drafted player who signed with the Rockies out of Mississippi State in 2005, allowed two hits and two unearned runs in five innings April 8. He threw 42 of 68 pitches for strikes.

--C Chris Iannetta went 0-for-1 with three walks. Iannetta is hitless in his past 16 at-bats -- his last hit was a single April 6 against the Dodgers -- and he is batting .192 (5-for-26). But Iannetta has drawn 12 walks, which is particularly notable as the No. 8 hitter, and he has a .447 on-base percentage.

--RHP Greg Reynolds could be making his second and last start for a while in the first game of a doubleheader Thursday at New York, as injured RHP Ubaldo Jimenez is expected to return to the rotation Monday. If so, Reynolds will hope to pitch as well as he did Saturday at Pittsburgh and keep his name in the discussion should the Rockies need another starter at some point in the season. At Pittsburgh, Reynolds allowed three hits and two runs in six innings. He got a no-decision in the Rockies' 6-4 victory.

--Not only did RF Seth Smith hit a career-low .246 last year, but the left-handed hitter went 8-for-52 (.154) against left-handed pitchers. Working with hitting coach Carney Lansford, Smith has gone back to his compact swing -- it got long as he tried to hit home runs last year, thinking that would keep him in the lineup -- and he has responded well to Lansford's fundamental belief about the importance of using the entire field.

Smith was in the lineup batting leadoff Wednesday against Mets LHP Jonathon Niese. However, Smith went 0-for-4 with a walk and was 0-for-2 against Niese, leaving him 2-for-5 against left-handers and 11-for-34 (.324) overall with a .395 on-base percentage and .588 slugging percentage.

.630 -- On-base percentage for 2B Jonathan Herrera, who reached base three times in five plate appearances Wednesday with a single, a double and a walk in the Rockies' 5-4 win at New York. Herrera has scored six runs in five games on the current road trip and is hitting .474.

"It was imbedded in our head that we have to get off to a good start. We left spring training with a new mentality, knowing how important this was." -- SS Troy Tulowitzki, on the Rockies' 8-2 overall record and 5-1 road record.

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2017 Team Leaders
AVGCharlie Blackmon , CF.337
HRCharlie Blackmon , CF29
RBINolan Arenado , 3B105
OBPCharlie Blackmon , CF.399
SLGCharlie Blackmon , CF.623
RCharlie Blackmon , CF114
SBCharlie Blackmon , CF12
WKyle Freeland , SP11
ERAKyle Freeland , SP3.74
WHIPKyle Freeland , SP1.37
KGerman Marquez , SP113
SVGreg Holland , RP35

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