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Story looks to find rhythm, timing again this spring

Shortstop ends early skid with solo homer
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

PHOENIX -- Rockies shortstop Trevor Story has plenty of time to recapture the feeling he had last spring. He started in that direction Sunday afternoon.

Story entered Sunday's 9-4 loss to the Brewers with one hit -- a homer -- in his first 13 at-bats this spring. But in the starting lineup for the second straight day, Story launched a solo homer to left off righty Chase Anderson in the fourth inning.

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PHOENIX -- Rockies shortstop Trevor Story has plenty of time to recapture the feeling he had last spring. He started in that direction Sunday afternoon.

Story entered Sunday's 9-4 loss to the Brewers with one hit -- a homer -- in his first 13 at-bats this spring. But in the starting lineup for the second straight day, Story launched a solo homer to left off righty Chase Anderson in the fourth inning.

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Video: COL@MIL: Story homers to left in the 4th inning

Last year, Story, who had no prior Major League experience, won the shortstop job by hitting .340 with six home runs in 53 Cactus League at-bats. It was a springboard to a 10-homer April, which tied the Major League rookie record for the first month. He led National League rookies with 27 homers -- an NL rookie-shortstop record -- despite missing the final two months with a left thumb injury.

The Rockies' Cactus League schedule started on Feb. 25 this year -- five days earlier than last year. Slow early numbers are rarely a concern, and even less so with the early beginning this year. But Sunday's start against the Brewers -- during which Story went 2-for-3 to raise his spring average to .188 -- came after a start Saturday, and could be the beginning of accelerated playing time.

Video: Outlook: Story could become premier slugger in NL

"It's a little different, just because I'm not playing every single game," Story said. "My mindset is still the same, intensity is the same. I'm just trying to get the rhythm and timing back.

"I missed a little time last year, so it's good to have a longer spring so I can have more at-bats and get more into it. It can be hard playing every single day in the spring, but that's the fun part of it."

Rockies manager Bud Black said, "He's young, he's energetic, he wants to play. But we feel as though in the first nine games, we've had him on a nice pace. But he'll play."

Story said as the rust leaves, he will develop his regular-season approach -- which is more important than his Cactus League batting average.

"I can control the decisions I make, and what pitches I swing at," Story said. "Taking tough pitches is one of the big things I get happy about in the spring. Last spring, I was locked in every single at-bat, and that's what I'm trying to do this year. Sometimes you can get a little passive in spring. ... I try to be as intense as I can and be ready to hit every pitch."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Trevor Story