Rox react to CarGo deal; Bettis solid again
Slugger made 3 All-Star appearances in 10 seasons with Colorado
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies outfielder David Dahl remembers looking into the Rockies’ dugout from first base and seeing Carlos González with palms raised to the heavens and a big grin. Dahl was a rookie who was struggling through an Aug. 6, 2017 game at Coors Field against Marlins lefty Adam Conley.
“I had two at-bats off him and I was really pulling off, and CarGo told me, ‘Go up there and try to hit the ball to left-center,’” Dahl said. “I ended up getting a hit and he was like, ‘I told you.’”
The Rockies decided to change the outfield guard by not re-signing Gonzalez after 10 seasons that included three All-Star appearances. That cleared a spot for Dahl, who has shown signs of having CarGo-like production. The time to move on became official Saturday, when reports were confirmed that Gonzalez had reached a Minor League agreement with the Indians that has a $2 million Major League pay rate attached to it.
Even when he was being groomed as a replacement, Dahl said Gonzalez was a helpful force.
“He was one of the best Rockies to play and he made me feel comfortable. He let me be myself and helped with advice with pitchers and outfield stuff,” Dahl said. “He was great in the clubhouse. He definitely will be missed.”
Charlie Blackmon, who moves to Gonzalez’s old position in right field -- with Dahl in left and Ian Desmond in center -- said the Indians are getting an asset beyond his clubhouse presence.
“He’s still a very high-upside player,” Blackmon said. “CarGo is still young, athletic, strong, toolsy and has the ability to do a lot of things on the baseball field. I hope he puts it all together and I’m really happy he has a place to be.”
Same old Bettis, in more ways than one
Righty Chad Bettis started Sunday’s 7-2 win over the Cubs and had some misfortune behind him -- such as Javier Baez’s deft swim move to avoid a tag on a first-inning steal attempt. Nonetheless, he struck out two and pitched around four hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings to hold the Cubs to one run.
In 2018, Bettis had an impressive first month and a half before a recurring blister on his right middle finger limited him to bullpen duty. Sunday was the latest example of Bettis’ ability to work through trouble.
The right-hander has also scrapped a slider that he attempted to add this offseason.
“In my bullpens, I think it was 76-78 [mph], some maybe at 80,” said Bettis, who used the pitch with decreasing frequency over his last few starts. “I was like, ‘Oh, this is nice,’ because natural progression -- get that hitter in the box, it should be 82, 84-ish. But it just wasn’t getting there.
“We went back to my cutter, because I have a good feel for it and I don’t have to work to manipulate it. I know how to make it big or small and the right way to use it. The slider, I was working too hard for it.”
After sitting a week with pain at the bottom of his right hamstring, Garrett Hampson played Saturday in left field and Sunday at shortstop and proved to be healthy.
On Sunday, he tested his speed by dropping a bunt single in the third inning. He then doubled to left in the fifth, stole third on a two-strike pitch and attempted to score -- but was thrown out -- on a contact play on Daniel Murphy's soft chopper.
It’s his day
Murphy celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by pulling a left-on-left homer off Cubs starter Jose Quintana.
“Over my last -- if you count today -- eight to nine at-bats, I felt really comfortable in there,” said Murphy, who nonetheless chided himself for the grounder that led to Hampson being thrown out at the plate. “It’s nice to start stacking them up. That’s why I wanted to play today.”
Murphy, traded from the Nationals to the Cubs last August, added, “It’s a good group of guys, and I can’t say enough about that organization and how they treated myself and my family for six weeks.”
Saunders leaves camp
With little possibility of pushing his way into the Rockies’ outfield picture, non-roster invitee Michael Saunders and the club parted ways on Sunday.
Catching, bullpen updates
Tony Wolters started and had a solid defensive day, making two strong throws to second, including one that should have been an out. He also went 1-for-3 at the plate. Fellow catcher Tom Murphy homered, while veteran Chris Iannetta did not play.
Lefty Mike Dunn and righty Scott Oberg each pitched an inning, to continue their respective scoreless springs. Dunn has not allowed a run over seven innings, while Oberg extended his run to eight frames.
Left-hander Kyle Freeland will take the mound on Monday when the Rockies host the Reds at 2:10 p.m. MDT. Cincinnati will counter with Tyler Mahle, who has not allowed a run in six innings this spring.