Rox still weighing roster; Parker released

Former top pick was in camp as non-roster invitee

April 2nd, 2016

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The next-to-last game of Spring Training was still too early for Rockies manager Walt Weiss to set his Opening Day roster.

Weiss said before Friday night's game against the Mariners that he, his staff and the front office were still determining roster structure. For much of the spring, the Rockies indicated they would go with 13 position players and 12 pitchers. That would mean there is room for right-handed hitting Brandon Barnes as fifth outfielder.

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However, the Rockies are considering other plans because injuries to starting right-hander Jon Gray and righty reliever Jason Motte will cost them the start of the season, and the loss of Jairo Diaz for the season because of right elbow surgery. Plus, there are only four pitchers with pitch counts high enough to be considered to start a game in the regular season's first two weeks.

Going without Barnes would be a longshot, but first baseman Mark Reynolds and Ben Paulsen have experience in left field.

Unless there are surprise decisions, it appears four pitchers are vying for an yet-to-be-determined number of spots, but it won't be four.

From the right side, Scott Oberg, who performed well last year when entering with runners on base, has an 11.42 ERA this spring with 10 runs coming in two appearances, and non-roster invitee Gonzalez Germen has a 1.93 ERA with eight strikeouts in 9 1/3 innings over 10 outings. Lefty possibilities are both non-roster players -- Jason Gurka, with 19 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings, and Yohan Flande, who went into Friday night's scheduled appearance against the Mariners with a 4.50 ERA and 14 strikeouts to one walk in 10 innings.

Parker released: The Rockies have released right-handed hitting outfielder Kyle Parker, cutting ties with their top pick in the 2010 Draft.

Parker, 26, hit .290 with 91 home runs in 563 Minor League games, but struggled in limited big league opportunity -- .182 in 132 at-bats over 64 games in 2014 and '15. The Rockies designated him for assignment this winter when they signed outfielder Gerardo Parra to a three-year, $27.5 million contract. But he was invited to Spring Training as a non-roster player after he cleared waivers.

Parker hit .222 in 27 at-bats over 20 Spring Training games, and had been reassigned to Minor League camp.

Paulsen carrying his weight at first base: Weiss said he is pleased with the performance of the first-base tandem of Reynolds, who has a .362 batting average and .444 on-base percentage in spring, and Paulsen, who entered his start Friday against the Mariners hitting .269 with 11 RBIs.

The Rockies signed the right-handed hitting Reynolds, 32, for one year and $2.6 million but also wanted to see what Paulsen, 28, could do in his first time beginning a season in the Majors.

"[Paulsen's] handled himself well at the Major League level," Weiss said. "He's been up parts of both years and has performed. Anytime he's gotten an opportunity, he's taken advantage of it. He's done a nice job this spring."

Story stays focused: Rookie Trevor Story won the starting shortstop job this spring, but there is still a cloud over the position.

The decision by prosecutors in Hawaii this week to drop domestic abuse charges against veteran shortstop Jose Reyes means the length of his absence from the club will be determined only by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's ruling, which could include a suspension under the MLB-MLB Players Association joint policy regarding domestic abuse. Manfred suspended Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman for 30 games even though no charges were filed in his case; however, all cases are different.

Story can't let this affect his preparation.

"I've just been taking care of my situation, so I don't really worry about it," Story said. "I can't control any of that.

"But I've heard some good things about him. I want to meet him."