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Rockies Spring Training FAQs, important dates

@harding_at_mlb
February 11, 2020

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies insist four months have dissipated the malodor of their 20 games-below-.500 finish in 2019. If it hadn’t been washed away, the rains around Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Tuesday morning could finish the job as pitchers and catchers officially reported for Spring Training.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies insist four months have dissipated the malodor of their 20 games-below-.500 finish in 2019. If it hadn’t been washed away, the rains around Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Tuesday morning could finish the job as pitchers and catchers officially reported for Spring Training.

But to hear right-handed reliever Scott Oberg, who was a bright spot before blood clots in his right arm ended his year in August, maybe a little whiff of last year carried into a new year isn’t all bad.

“I can’t speak for everybody, but if it doesn’t provide some motivation, then maybe you’re in the wrong business,” Oberg said.

The feelings of spring -- excitement, renewal, sunshine (which showed up by afternoon) -- are with the Rockies and 29 other teams.

But an offseason that had few events -- yet was turbulent -- gives the 2020 Rockies a flavor like no other team. And no matter what pundits and sabermetric soothsayers may say about a team that made one waiver claim (righty reliever Tyler Kinley from the Marlins) but no Major League trades or free-agent signings, this holdover stew will have to just sauté into the season before anyone knows how it tastes.

What an experiment. Is following the same mix as last year and expecting a different result the correct formula? Or are the Rockies right in the message that they are actually expecting the same result -- only they’re looking at the results from 2017 and '18, the latter of which was a postseason berth?

“It’s a good feeling, having all these guys behind us,” said right-hander German Márquez, whose solid 2019 included leading the National League in innings pitched up to the point in August when he was shut down for the season (which wouldn’t have happened if the team had been contending) with right arm inflammation. “That’s motivation to win games.”

Manager Bud Black, most responsible for balancing the need to get productive players back to their old selves while cleaning out last season’s staleness, noted that the team was six games over .500 in June and in playoff relevance in early July -- only to have a total collapse of pitching and offense through that month.

“Not even just today, but I’ve sensed over the wintertime, these guys know where they’ve been,” Black said. “Most of this group has gone to the playoffs. And not much has changed as far as that construction of the roster. They’re a couple years older, more experienced for a lot of guys on the mound and position player-wise. There’s a sense of confidence that is in this group.”

Does the familiarity bring harmony or something else? Star third baseman Nolan Arenado, a lifelong Rockie with seven Gold Glove Awards and an eight-year, $260 million contract, revealed this offseason he is angry with the front office and general manager Jeff Bridich. While not stated during the winter, frustration over the lack of offseason moves has been pointed to as ranking somewhere on the list of issues that seem headed to a trade if nothing changes.

But for lefty Kyle Freeland, born in Denver with Purple Pinstripes through his soul, the chance to rebound is not just a product of a front office stuck in idle but a show of confidence.

“There’s always something to prove, and I’m always looking to prove myself to myself and to others,” said Freeland, fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2018 before slumping to a 6.73 ERA in ‘19. “We’re definitely looking to bounce back and show the baseball world what this group is capable of.

“The talent level, the skill level, the drive is all there. We have the right group of guys to do something special.”

First pitchers and catchers workout
Wednesday, Feb. 12

Full squad report date
Sunday, Feb. 16

First full-squad workout
Monday, Feb. 17

New faces to know
LHP Tim Collins, C Elias Díaz, OF Mike Gerber, Chris Owings, RHP Ubaldo Jiménez, LHP Tyler Kinley, RHP José Mujica, INF Eric Stamets

Top prospects to know
INF Brendan Rodgers (No. 29 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list), LHP Ryan Rolison, 1B/3B Colton Welker, LHP Ben Bowden, OF Sam Hilliard, OF Yonathan Daza, 1B/3B/OF Tyler Nevin, 1B/3B Josh Fuentes, RHP Tommy Doyle

Where is the facility?
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is located at 7555 North Pima Road, Scottsdale, Ariz. (shared with the D-backs)

Can fans attend workouts?
Daily workouts are open to the public, with seating and grassy areas for viewing and, when players are done, autographs.

First game
Saturday, Feb. 22, vs. the D-backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 1:10 p.m. MST

First TV game
TBA

One other notable game
Saturday, Feb. 29, vs. the Dodgers (split-squad) at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 1:10 p.m. MST

Last game in Arizona
Tuesday, March 24, vs. the Mariners at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 1:10 MT

Any additional exhibitions before the regular season?
No

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