Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Estes has edge on opening-day start
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Manager Clint Hurdle hasn't made it
official, but it appears Shawn Estes will be the Colorado Rockies'
opening-day starter on April 6.
Estes pitched five scoreless innings Monday, allowing just three
hits. He combined with three other Colorado pitchers on a
five-hitter in a 1-0 win over San Diego.
In 15 innings this spring, Estes has allowed just one earned
"He has put some distance between himself and the rest of the
guys vying for positions in the rotation," Hurdle said.
But Hurdle refused to proclaim Estes as the No. 1 starter. "I
just don't care to make any announcements," he said. "I am just
in no hurry."
It was the second straight start that Estes has worked five
shutout innings, and it left him with a 3-1 record and 0.60
"He's pitched with confidence all spring," Hurdle said. "He
took another step in the right direction."
Estes, who made a start on opening day for San Francisco in
1998, credits his strong spring to his mental approach. Signed to a
minor-league deal, the lack of security sharpened his edge.
"I just wanted to make the team," Estes said.
Estes, 8-11 with a 5.73 ERA with the Chicago Cubs last season,
talked with a number of teams this offseason, many of which thought
he was hurt last year. He was determined to prove he was healthy.
^MR. VERSATILE:@ Kit Pellow's versatility is making him a
Pellow started in right field Monday and moved to first base in
the sixth. He drove in the Rockies' only run with a sacrifice fly
in the fourth, collected the first of their five singles and is
batting .241 (7-for-29).
"Everywhere we've put him with a glove on his hand, he's done
well," Hurdle said. That includes left field, third base and
catcher. Pellow's ability to play the latter position likely will
enable him to make the team.
"He's much more capable than a third catcher," Hurdle said.
"He can start a game."
On Sunday, Pellow made two sliding catches in left field.
^TOUGH DECISION:@ The Rockies may face a tough decision about
what to do with Luis Gonzalez.
The Rockies selected Gonzalez from the Cleveland Indians in
December's Rule 5 draft for $50,000. If they can't find a spot for
Gonzalez on the 25-man roster, they have to offer him back to the
Indians for $25,000 unless they can work out a deal with Cleveland.
On Monday, Gonzalez started at third base and moved to shortstop
in the sixth inning. Gonzalez, who also has played left and right
field this spring, saved a run and possibly the game with a leaping
catch of Henri Stanley's line drive with no out in the ninth and
runners on first and second.
Gonzalez, 24, also had one of the Rockies' five hits and has
gone 10-for-32 (.313).
He played six games at Triple-A Buffalo in 2002 but spent last
season at Double-A Akron, where he hit .316 with seven home runs,
62 RBIss and a .385 on-base percentage.
"This kid, we like a lot," Hurdle said. "It's a tough
situation. The Indians might even like him more now with the
exposure he's gotten in this position and the way he's handled
^BOLSTERING HIS BID:@ Right-hander Turk Wendell pitched two
scoreless innings Monday to run his scoreless innings streak to
Wendell, who took a minor-league deal with the Rockies because
he wanted to be close to his home in Castle Rock, said, "Maybe I'm
one day closer to making the team. There's only so many days
Wendell appears to have won a bullpen job.