Rockies step up pursuit of reliever Hendrickson
The Denver Post
NEW YORK – The Rockies are thinking big in terms of an adding another reliever. They have increased their pursuit of Baltimore’s 6-foot-9-inch left-hander Mark Hendrickson.
Hendrickson, whom the Rockies have liked for years, became a primary target after Pittsburgh and Washington asked for Eric Young Jr. in return for John Grabow and Joe Beimel, respectively. Hendrickson has found his groove since moving to the bullpen on May 15, compiling a 2.94 ERA in 23 games.
With Alan Embree out indefinitely – he’s recovering from a broken right leg with an outside shot of pitching in late September – the Rockies want another left-hander to pair with Franklin Morales.
The Rockies signed another bullpen arm this week. After three successful workouts, veteran Mike Timlin agreed to a minor-league deal with the Rockies and has reported to short-season Casper to get his arm in shape. If all goes well, he could be a factor in September.
When Troy Tulowitzki laid down a bunt in the sixth inning Tuesday, the Mets’ David Wright teased him. What’s a guy who hits monstrous home runs doing bunting?
To Mets shortstop Alex Cora, there was a deeper meaning.
“He knows that the manager trusts him, and that he’s going to be in the lineup every day,” said Cora, whose Mets face the Rockies in a split doubleheader today at Citi Field. “That’s why you see him stealing third, and playing small ball. He’s relaxed.”
For Cora, it was a bit like looking in the mirror. Manager Jim Tracy put his faith in Cora and Cesar Izturis in Los Angeles, defined their roles and stuck his neck out for them.
“He was the first one over there to see the value in offense and defense,” Cora said. “He put me in position to succeed. And he really had an open-door policy. There was nothing fake about him.”
Jason Hirsh, whose career never got back on track after a 2008 spring training shoulder injury, was traded Tuesday to the Yankees for a player to be named later.
“I think it’s going to be a good opportunity for me to get back to the big leagues,” said Hirsh, who has pitched for Colorado Springs all year. “I am thankful for my time in Colorado but glad to get a fresh start.”
Hirsh was the centerpiece of the December 2006 trade of Jason Jennings to the Astros. Hirsh did well in April 2007, and Taylor Buchholz and Willy Taveras, the other players acquired, played key roles in helping the Rockies reach the World Series.
Johan Santana’s changeup will lead to a change in the Rockies’ lineup for the first game. Clint Barmes will sit, with Ian Stewart shifting to second base for only the third time in two months. Garrett Atkins will start at third. Barmes, stuck in a 7-for-49 slump, is chasing outside pitches, which plays directly into Santana’s strength.
Stewart no longer takes groundballs at second base during batting practice, but said he’s comfortable at the position.
Pitcher Greg Smith’s lost season took another wrong turn when he landed on the Triple-A disabled list with back spasms.