Notes: Márquez's wife, son get U.S. visas

Lambert strong in spring debut; Murphy drives in two vs. Indians

February 25th, 2020

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Monday was the day for Rockies righty to pitch, but the plan was for him to do a simulated game on the back field, away from the fans. But when he does pitch in a Cactus League game, he’ll be doing so for two special fans.

Márquez, 25, whose solid 2019 cemented his spot atop the Rockies' rotation, will finally pitch in front of his wife, Dilvanny, and his 19-month-old son, Damian, after securing a visa for them. Márquez, from San Felix, Venezuela, last pitched in front of family members in 2012 in the Dominican Summer League while he was with the Rays, who traded him to the Rockies before the 2016 season.

“It’s really exciting to have your family in the stands," Márquez said. "It’s going to be awesome, first time for them."

It’s not as if Márquez didn’t feel the support from back home. A family friend gathers a neighborhood group of around 20 to watch all of his starts. But Márquez admitted feeling something was missing when he saw his teammates visit with their loved ones.

“It’s kind of hard being away from your family,” Márquez said. “It’s hard, but you have to keep going.”

Political unrest in Venezuela and a contentious relationship between the government there and the United States have combined to make travel difficult. Márquez, who signed a five-year, $43 million contract extension with the Rockies last April, originally could secure a visa for Damian (nicknamed “Easy Cheese” at birth) but not for Dilvanny because they weren’t married. Then, the U.S. embassy in Venezuela closed.

But Márquez did eventually marry Dilvanny, then the family followed the suit of many Venezuelans, athletes and otherwise, by going to Colombia to secure the visas.

If the past is an indication, Márquez will treat the family to some fine pitching. He broke in with the Rockies in 2016, and since '17, he is seventh in the National League in strikeouts (552) and starts (90), eighth in innings pitched (532) and wins (37), and 10th in winning percentage (.617).

Last season when placed on the injured list with right arm inflammation on Aug. 28, he led the National League in innings pitched (174) and was tied for fifth in wins (12) and was ninth in strikeouts (175).

Lambert opens his case
Second-year righty Peter Lambert, who turns 23 on April 18, fanned three and walked one over two hitless innings during the Rockies' 12-8 victory over Indians on Monday as he competes for a rotation spot. He fanned the last two hitters and ended his outing with a changeup that fooled Sandy León.

“I’m as excited as ever to come into this season. I feel great and as a team, we’re ready to go and we’re going to compete this year,” Lambert said.

Murphy solid
Having closed the book on the injuries that plagued his 2019, first baseman Daniel Murphy had an eventful spring debut against Cleveland -- a solid RBI single in the first inning, a ground-ball double past third base against a shifted infield and a leaping spear to rob Jake Bauers to end the third defensively.

One needs to make his own luck
Righty Chi Chi Gonzalez, Monday’s starter, went 1 2/3 innings and gave up four runs -- two on Francisco Lindor’s home run. The two hits before the home run, Bradley Zimmer’s double and Ka’ai Tom’s single, went off the edge of second baseman Garrett Hampson’s glove.

“You always want to have great results. Peter came out and put up a couple zeroes,” Gonzalez said. “I’m upset that I gave up four, but I made a mistake and he capitalized on it. He’s an All-Star, Lindor. Breaking balls were great, changeups were good. I’ve just got to refine that fastball.

Useful utility
Non-roster utility man Bret Boswell, usually an infielder, entered the game in Murphy's spot and played center field, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs.

Up next
Non-roster righty Wes Parsons, who made 32 relief appearances for the Braves and Rockies last year but is being prepared as a starter this year, will start against the Cubs at Sloan Park on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. MT, live on MLB.TV.

Then comes Rockies’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, lefty Ryan Rolison, the team’s top pick in 2018. Also going are righty starter type Antonio Santos and righty No. 21 prospect Tommy Doyle, a closer type drafted 70th overall in 2017. Jon Lester starts for the Cubs.