Rockies offense springing into action |

Rockies offense springing into action

Jim Armstrong
The Denver Post
(HC)Colorado Rockies Clint Barmes hits home run from Chicago Cubs Ryan Dempster in the 7th inning of the game against Chicago Cubs at Coors Field on Saturday. Chicago won 6-5. Hyoung Chang/ The Denver Post

SURPRISE, Ariz. – It’s one of Jim Tracy’s favorite sayings, which is saying something since the Rockies manager seemingly wrote the book about favorite sayings.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” Tracy was saying the other day.

But the Rockies are trying to re-invent a few 2009 batting averages. Clint Barmes’ .245, for instance. Or the .228 mark shared by Ian Stewart and Chris Iannetta. Or the .241 by Ryan Spilborghs, 72 points below the .313 he hit a year earlier.

Tracy has preached a new approach at the plate this spring after the Rockies hit .261 in 2009, the lowest mark in franchise history, and struck out more than any other National League team except Arizona.

Stay behind the ball. Hit it up the middle. Don’t be pull happy. If you can’t get a hit, move up a runner. Those have been Tracy’s instructions from Day One. And just to drive home the point, Tracy had orange traffic cones placed in center field for batting practice this spring.

The results? The Rockies are leading the National League in hitting (.312). And it’s no coincidence they are leading the majors in doubles (77) and triples (18), many of which have landed in center field, or the opposite field.

“We want to be in position where mentally we’re not going to take any pitches off,” Tracy said. “That’s the message we’ve been trying to send. I think they’ve gotten the message.”

This isn’t just a helpful suggestion from the manager. It isn’t just an idea Tracy is hoping to implement. It’s a direct order.

Gone are the days of the Blake Street Bombers. The Rockies are evolving into a pitching- and defensive-oriented team.

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