The Rockies have a clear front-runner to play first base, and it’s not Ian Desmond

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Looking for intrigue at Rockies spring training?  Look to first base. When position players gather for their first official workout Monday at Salt River Fields, the question about who will man the position remains unanswered. The issue became even more cloudy Sunday when veteran Ian Desmond spoke about the upcoming season. “Honestly, I haven’t really been focusing a lot on first base,” Desmond said after arriving at

Will Tim Tebow play baseball in the majors? Mets GM thinks so.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Tim Tebow arrived at the New York Mets spring training camp on Sunday, and the attention immediately turned to whether the quarterback who became an outfielder could make it all the way to Citi Field in the future. Guess what? Mets general manager Sandy Alderson votes yes. “Somebody asked me if thought he’d be a major league player at some point. I think he will

Rockies’ Trevor Story poised to rebound from 2017 slump

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — If Trevor Story is nervous about his pivotal, upcoming season, he certainly doesn’t show it. His body ripped from a strenuous offseason workout program back home in his native Texas, the Rockies’ 25-year-old shortstop speaks calmly about the task confronting him. “I feel great, I can’t wait to get back into it again,” Story said from the spring training clubhouse at Salt River Fields.  “Baseball is a

Carlos Estevez aiming for important duty in Rockies’ bullpen

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — This spring training presents a terrific opportunity for Rockies right-hander Carlos Estevez. Make the most of it, and he’ll be in line to pitch important innings during the regular season. Struggle, and Estevez could face more schooling at Triple-A Albuquerque. A confident Estevez is betting he’ll be a full-time big-leaguer, possibly working as a stand-in for set-up man Bryan Shaw. “I feel good, really good,” the 25-year-old

Saunders: Have Rockies done enough to fill Nolan Arenado’s win list?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Nolan Arenado strolled into the clubhouse at Salt River Fields Friday morning ready to play baseball. Heck, he looked ready to play two. That’s the thing about the Rockies all-world third baseman. He loves baseball. He loves watching it, studying it and talking about it. Most of all, he loves playing it. Even fans sitting in the cheap seats in the Rockpile at Coors Field can see

Are the Rockies seriously considering moving Charlie Blackmon from leadoff to heart of the order?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — All-star center fielder Charlie Blackmon put up historic numbers hitting from the leadoff spot in 2017, but the Rockies are contemplating moving him down in the order to take advantage of his power. “We have talked about it, we have contemplated it,” manager Bud Black said Wednesday as the Rockies officially opened spring training. “We have talked about it a lot, in earnest. And I’ve spoken to

Rockies’ Gerardo Parra undergoes hand surgery, will likely miss 4-6 weeks

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Rockies veteran outfielder Gerardo Parra will miss significant time during spring training after undergoing surgery to remove a broken bone in his right hand. Parra, who’s hand was tightly wrapped when he walked into the clubhouse at Salt River Fields Friday morning, had surgery last Friday to remove the broken hamate bone in his hand. The surgery was performed in Scottsdale by Dr. Donald Sheridan. “I felt

Rockies podcast: Chris Iannetta’s return to Colorado and spring training kicks off

In the first On The Rox podcast of 2018, Patrick Saunders welcomes Chris Iannetta, the catcher and winery owner who returns to Colorado. Jenny Cavnar also joins to talk about motherhood and baseball. And with spring training underway, did the team do enough to replace Mark Reynolds and Carlos Gonzales? And will the Rockies’ young pitchers avoid a sophomore slump? Mobile users, if you don’t see the podcast, tap here.

Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu says contract status won’t affect him in 2018

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Second baseman DJ LeMahieu has sparkled while wearing Rockies purple. He’s won two Gold Gloves, been selected to two All-Star Games and won the National League batting title in 2016 when he hit .348. But he’s scheduled to become a free agent at the end of this season and there have been are no indications that the Rockies will offer him a long-term contract. LeMahieu says he

Rockies manager Bud Black learned valuable lessons about mile-high baseball

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bud Black is a baseball lifer, and smart enough to know that there’s still plenty to learn, especially about leading a Rockies team that plays 81 games at a mile above sea level. While managing baseball at altitude for the first time last season didn’t change Black’s basic, strategic view of the game, he’s come to recognize that he must tweak his approach, especially when it comes

Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo heads to Florida to offer support in wake of shooting at his former high school

MESA, Ariz. — Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is departing spring training for his home in Parkland, Florida, to offer support in the wake of a deadly shooting at his former high school. Rizzo was traveling Thursday, the team said. He had been an early arrival in Arizona, where Chicago’s position players are set to report Monday ahead of the club’s first full-squad workout. He is expected back by

As Chicago Cubs unveil Yu Darvish, a winter of discontent bleeds into a spring of hope and faith

MESA, Ariz. — For the Chicago Cubs, one of those silly-but-great February traditions — the first-day-of-spring-training news conference with the triumvirate of Manager Joe Maddon, General Manager Jed Hoyer and team president Theo Epstein — found itself, by necessity, usurped by one of those silly-but-great traditions that typically come in December or January: the unveiling, complete with the ceremonial donning of cap and uniform, of the team’s shiny, new, high-priced

2018 Rockies eager to prove preseason naysayers wrong

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Rockies officially opened camp Wednesday with a spring in their step and confident they’ll be true contenders. Not everyone, however, is quite so bullish on the Rockies. Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs, two respected baseball web sites that lean heavily on analytics, peg the Rockies as a so-so team. Baseball Prospectus, using its PECOTA projections system, predicts that Colorado will finish 78-84 and fourth in the National League

Shohei Ohtani begins with Los Angeles Angels to great fanfare, expectations

TEMPE, Ariz. — Shohei Ohtani emerged from the clubhouse and tipped his cap to the swarm of Japanese countrymen capturing his every move, cameras clicking a mile a minute. He offered that signature smile, something Angels manager Mike Scioscia noticed right away and appreciates as much as his new two-way star’s tremendous, “extraordinary” baseball talent. As a small group of Japanese fans cheered and waved their flag, Ohtani walked to

Former Grandview High star Kevin Gausman, Orioles agree to $5.6M deal to avoid arbitration

BALTIMORE — The Orioles avoided an arbitration hearing with pitcher Kevin Gausman, agreeing to a $5.6 million, one-year contract. Gausman had asked for $6,225,000 and the Orioles had submitted $5.3 million when proposed salaries were swapped last month, making the settlement $162,500 below the midpoint. He earned $3.45 million last year in his first of four arbitration-eligible seasons. His deal includes bonuses of $50,000 each for 25, 30, 33 starts;

For Charlie Blackmon, eight other Rockies, it was an offseason of love

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — An impressive number of Rockies players, including all-star outfielder Charlie Blackmon, came off the free-agent market this spring. No, not that market. We’re talking about the market of love. Blackmon, the famously bearded, 31-year-old National League batting champion, became engaged to his girlfriend, Ashley. So, technically, Blackmon is now a restricted free agent. Related Articles Catcher Tom Murphy changes approach, looks to land on Rockies roster Rockies inexperienced

Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs finalize $126 million, 6-year contract

CHICAGO — Yu Darvish and the Chicago Cubs have finalized their $126 million, six-year contract, by far the largest deal in a slow-moving free agent market. The agreement announced Tuesday topped outfielder Lorenzo Cain’s $80 million, five-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. In addition, the Los Angeles Angels gave outfielder Justin Upton a $106 million, five-year contract in November before he could become a free agent. Related Articles Former Grandview

Rockies catcher Tom Murphy changes approach, looks to land on 25-man roster

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Tom Murphy has fielded the questions before. Indeed, he’s faced them every spring training since 2014. Is this the season you finally break through? The season you stay healthy? The season you become a full-time, big-league catcher? The answer has always been ‘no,’ primarily because injuries have haunted him and stalled his career. Last year, for example, an optimistic Murphy arrived at Salt River Fields looking to share

Jeff Hoffman, armed with new attitude, aims to make Rockies’ rotation

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Being the odd man out was not part of Jeff Hoffman‘s blueprint last spring. The right-hander was ultra confident he would be a key member of the Rockies’ starting rotation when the regular season opened. But Hoffman didn’t come close to reaching his goal. He was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque with 10 days left in spring training, having pitched just  5 ⅔ Cactus League innings. The sting of

Rockies inexperienced at first base, but confident in Ian Desmond, Ryan McMahon

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Rockies’ plan for first base, at least right now, features the trio of rookie Ryan McMahon, versatile veteran Ian Desmond and utility man Pat Valaika. Desmond has 22 big-league starts at the position, McMahon three and Valaika one. That’s certainly not much experience on defense. Manager Bud Black, however, is confident things will work out during spring training. He also stressed that Desmond, who signed a