PEORIA, Ariz. -- Rarely in Rockies history has a player made his Major League debut as an Opening Day starter. But Trevor Story is handling shortstop with such aplomb this spring that there is no concern he'll shrink in the spotlight.Story, ranked No. 11 among Rockies prospects by MLBPipeline.com, knocked
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Rarely in Rockies history has a player made his Major League debut as an Opening Day starter. But Trevor Story is handling shortstop with such aplomb this spring that there is no concern he'll shrink in the spotlight.
Story, ranked No. 11 among Rockies prospects by MLBPipeline.com, knocked his fourth Cactus League home run, off Mariners reliever Joaquin Benoit, in the Rockies' 6-4 victory on Monday. He also tripled and walked against Mariners starter Felix Hernandez, and has a 1.558 OPS in eight Spring Training games.
Raburn's 4 RBIs carry Rockies past Mariners
The Rockies tend to introduce prospects -- Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki come to mind -- with a late-season trial. Matt Holliday and Nolan Arenado made debuts during the first month. But the last Rockies player to debut as a starter on Opening Day was Jeff Baker, whose chance came in 2005 when Garrett Atkins sustained a hamstring injury in an exhibition game in Colorado Springs. Story, 23, a supplemental first-round pick in 2011 out of Irving (Texas) High School, seems headed toward the job.
"I never really thought about that," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss, who hasn't officially named Story the starter. "You've got to keep it simple, if you're the kid in that position. It's baseball. You don't want to make it any more than that. It will be. Obviously, you've got to try to downplay Opening Day and the beginning of the season. I don't think it takes too long to get into the flow of a season, like he always has."
The opportunity arose because veteran Jose Reyes, part of last summer's trade with the Blue Jays for Tulowitzki, faces a domestic violence charge and a possible suspension from Major League Baseball. But Story is playing as if he is the post-Tulo future, rather than a stand-in.
Right-on-right is all right:Ryan Raburn collected three hits and drove in three runs on Monday, but he still feels a little behind in preparation for the season. Signed to a Minor League contract early in camp but being counted on for tough lefty matchups when the season begins, Raburn faced only righties -- Hernandez for two hits and Adrian Sampson for one.
"I haven't had too many [right-on-right chances] the last couple of years," Raburn said. "But, really, any at-bats are good right now. I'm just trying to get my legs under me and show the Rockies that I can play."
Raburn, who has played for the Tigers (2004, 2007-12) and Indians (2013-15), has had OPSs over 1.000 against lefty pitching two of the last three seasons.
Butler isn't finishing: Righty Eddie Butler, who is vying for a rotation spot and was coming off a scoreless appearance against the Giants, gave up six hits and four runs -- all with two out -- in 2 2/3 innings against Seattle. He left after serving homers to Adam Lind and Franklin Gutierrez in the sixth.
"It seems early in the at-bat he's gotten to decent counts, then he's had a hard time finishing the at-bat, and likewise with the inning -- a couple quick outs, then things snowball," Weiss said. "He's throwing the ball well. Today was a little tougher outing, but it's been encouraging what we've seen from Eddie the last couple of outings."
Righty Miguel Castro, also in the Tulowitzki deal, fanned two against one hit in a scoreless ninth while mixing a fastball that topped out at 96 mph with an 86-mph changeup. After missing the early part of camp while recovering from an offseason bout with pneumonia and tweaking mechanics, Castro, the Rockies' No. 15 prospect, has put himself into strong position in the race for bullpen jobs.
"Really good glove-side command with that fastball, and it's a big arm," Weiss said. "He's intriguing."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.