Weiss: Roster decisions to be based on early games

Weiss: Roster decisions to be based on early games

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Manager Walt Weiss said that the makeup of the Opening Day roster is still unsettled with a little more than a week left in Spring Training.

The next several days will determine whether the Rockies will begin the season with five starting pitchers or four (they don't need a fifth until April 14), or eight relievers or seven. About all that's known is that the bench will have to be versatile; the ability of catcher Wilin Rosario to play first base, for example, will be key.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Move to 'pen has been the difference for Friedrich

Move to 'pen has been the difference for Friedrich

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Lefty Christian Friedrich is rounding into the form the Rockies unlocked last season, when they moved him to the bullpen.

Friedrich gave up his first run of the spring during a two-inning stint in the Rockies' 5-1 victory over the Giants on Wednesday. But he hit his stride with his slider -- the pitch that was instrumental in his fashioning a 1.64 ERA in 13 relief appearances. He had a 9.45 ERA in his three starts before the Rockies made the conversion.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Oberg, Roberts taking every opportunity to impress

Oberg, Roberts taking every opportunity to impress

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Scott Oberg and lefty Ken Roberts entered Spring Training as non-roster afterthoughts, with neither having pitched above Double-A. Yet they're still with the club with a little more than a week left.

Unless there is a dramatic onslaught of injuries to the expected bullpen members, it's doubtful either will break camp with the club. But each outing is a chance to impress, which could make them candidates for in-season callups.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Butler's strong start backed by Tulo's homer

Rotation hopeful allows one run in five innings; Arenado adds RBI double

Butler's strong start backed by Tulo's homer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Wednesday's Giants-Rockies Cactus League game featured two starters working on both ends of the career spectrum: rookie right-hander Eddie Butler is still vying for a spot in Colorado's starting rotation and veteran Giants right-hander Tim Hudson is trying to begin what he says is his final season in good health.

Butler made a case for himself by pitching five innings of one-run, five-hit ball in Colorado's 5-2 victory. Hudson pitched three perfect innings before allowing Troy Tulowitzki's two-run homer and Nolan Arenado's RBI double in the fourth. Tulowitzki had two hits against Hudson, including a sixth-inning single.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Amazing' Betancourt battling for Rockies roster spot

Reliever tosses second scoreless outing since getting hit with line drive

'Amazing' Betancourt battling for Rockies roster spot

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Six days after being hit in the jaw by a line drive, ageless reliever Rafael Betancourt took another major step along the comeback trail by pitching a scoreless eighth inning for the Rockies on Wednesday in their 5-2 win over the Giants at Salt River Fields.

"You try to not put that kind of thing in your head," Betancourt said Wednesday. "It's part of the game."

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies send Kahnle to Minor League camp

Colorado seeking consistency from reliever, who appeared in 54 games last season

Rockies send Kahnle to Minor League camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Tommy Kahnle has been optioned by the Colorado Rockies to Minor League camp, the club announced Wednesday after defeating the Giants, 5-2, at Salt River Fields.

A pickup from the Yankees in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft, Kahnle, 25, remained with the Rockies all last season and worked 54 games in relief, compiling a 2-1 record, 4.19 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rehabbing Descalso, Culberson to see Minors action

Injured Rockies infielders slated for four innings, multiple at-bats

Rehabbing Descalso, Culberson to see Minors action

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies infielders Daniel Descalso and Charlie Culberson were to begin their injury comebacks Wednesday by playing four innings and being the first two batters each inning in a Minor League game.

Descalso has missed time with a right oblique strain and is the Rockies' primary utility infielder. Culberson's bulging disk in his lower back has severely limited his shot at a utility role.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stubbs eyes timing as reason for surge in K's

Rockies outfielder feels mechanics are fine, looking for simple fix

Stubbs eyes timing as reason for surge in K's

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The strikeouts are coming in bunches for Rockies outfielder Drew Stubbs, but he has pinpointed the root of the issue.

Stubbs, who has power and speed but also struggles with strikeouts, has fanned 17 times this spring, including eight in his last three games entering Wednesday. But Stubbs also has two home runs, and his six walks have him at a .359 on-base percentage, which actually is above the career-high .339 he established in 132 games with the Rockies last season.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Ring ceremony at Rox camp honors members of AFL's Rafters

Ring ceremony at Rox camp honors members of AFL's Rafters

So many wonderful aspects of the Arizona Fall League help make the two-month competition among the best and most cherished developmental experiences in professional baseball. Players, coaches and umpires not only hone their skills, they engage in true and sincere relationship-building.

I was fortunate to witness one of the unique traditions of the AFL during a pregame ceremony at Salt River Fields on Wednesday.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

De La Rosa appears headed to disabled list

Left-hander limited by left-groin tightness

De La Rosa appears headed to disabled list

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa isn't scheduled for bullpen sessions and is all but certain to be bound for the disabled list to begin the regular season with recurring left-groin tightness. That means the identity of the starting pitcher for the April 10 home opener against the Cubs is uncertain.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss said Tuesday he is not prepared to make such an announcement. But De La Rosa, who has made just two starts this spring -- one in a "B" game, the other Friday, when he left with the injury -- is limited to playing catch.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Six-run fifth, Bergman lock up Rockies' win

Down 4, offense rallies; righty works 4 scoreless

Six-run fifth, Bergman lock up Rockies' win

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In a battle of big innings, the Rockies won out with a 7-6 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday at Camelback Ranch.

Colorado scored six runs in the fifth off of John Danks and Matt Albers, with three of those runs being earned, to counter Chicago, which scored five unearned runs in the fourth off of Jordan Lyles.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Boring' Bergman pitching well without fanfare

Right-hander quietly goes about business on hill

'Boring' Bergman pitching well without fanfare

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Christian Bergman doesn't excite folks in concept -- a 24th-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft (2010) is never big news -- and he's not exciting to the eye, either.

"Someone told me it looks like I'm asleep out there, that it's boring to watch me pitch," Bergman said Tuesday afternoon, after he demonstrated that sometimes it's good to zap the excitement right out of a game.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Adames, Ynoa trying to squeeze way onto roster

Young infielders enjoying productive springs

Adames, Ynoa trying to squeeze way onto roster

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Switch-hitting infielders Cristhian Adames and Rafael Ynoa are receiving heavy playing time during Spring Training, and hope to be remembered when the regular season starts.

Regular infielders Nolan Arenado, Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu have a combined five Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, so there's no need for them to play much in the Cactus League. Utility man Daniel Descalso hasn't played since March 14 because of a right oblique injury, but he could be playing Minor League games as early as Wednesday.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rosario gives Rockies versatile power threat

Weiss likes having huge bat available off bench

Rosario gives Rockies versatile power threat

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss is spending many of his waking moments trying to fit three catchers into a roster puzzle. Wilin Rosario doesn't have much free time either; he's either putting in extra work at first base or continuing his catching education.

But it's all worthwhile when Rosario has a bat in his hands.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gray takes advantage with big opportunity in sight

With Chacin gone and De La Rosa hurt, top prospect hurls four strong innings

Gray takes advantage with big opportunity in sight

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-handed pitcher Jon Gray sat in front of his locker in the Rockies' clubhouse Monday morning with words flowing and the energetic bouncing of his legs increasing by the minute.

With openings materializing in the Rockies' rotation by the day, Gray was prepping for a start against the Brewers that marked the beginning of his big chance. Last time Gray, 23, felt this way was 2013, his final year at the University of Oklahoma, with word swirling that he would be one of the first players selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

MLB Pipeline checks in from Rockies camp

Righty Gray shines on mound; lefty Freeland talks transition to pros

MLB Pipeline checks in from Rockies camp

Every Spring Training, prospects get a chance to show what they can do as they prepare for the season ahead. Some are competing for jobs in big league camp, others are prepping for the season as they vie for spots at Minor League affiliates up and down a team's system. MLBPipeline.com will be visiting all 30 camps this spring. Today, we check in on the Colorado Rockies.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Mile High Stadium and Coors Field certainly haven't made it easy, but the Rockies have had very little success signing and developing pitching. Since they came into being 23 years ago, they've had just three homegrown All-Stars on the mound: Shawn Chacon, Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Butler has wrinkles to iron out as he approaches bigs

Rockies right-hander has repertoire to succeed, but he must execute pitches

Butler has wrinkles to iron out as he approaches bigs

Rockies starting-pitching candidate Eddie Butler had an outstanding career at Radford University. He finished with 22 wins and an ERA of 3.84, with 232 strikeouts in 279 innings.

For his efforts at Radford, the Rockies selected Butler with the 46th overall pick in the supplemental first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. The Rangers had chosen him in 2009, but the right-hander elected to attend Radford.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Late RBIs from Rosario, Adames key Rockies win

Strong pitching, seventh-inning rally push Colorado past Milwaukee

Late RBIs from Rosario, Adames key Rockies win

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Wilin Rosario and Cristhian Adames delivered consecutive RBI hits in the seventh inning as the Rockies pulled away from the Brewers, 5-1, Monday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Rosario entered as a replacement and doubled off the left-field wall against Brewers reliever Neal Cotts, and Adames singled Rosario home as the Rockies broke a 1-1 tie. Tim Wheeler added a two-run homer in the eighth.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Status unclear, De La Rosa's MRI reveals 'nothing bad'

Dealing with troublesome left groin, lefty's return to mound up in air

Status unclear, De La Rosa's MRI reveals 'nothing bad'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa said an MRI on his troublesome left groin revealed "nothing bad." But when he will pitch in a Cactus League game or whether he will be ready for his scheduled start in the April 10 home opener is still unknown.

De La Rosa's day to pitch would be Wednesday, but he is not on that day's schedule. Eddie Butler is listed as the starter against the Giants, and there is no official indication De La Rosa will pitch in a Minor League game. De La Rosa has dealt with left groin tightness throughout the spring, and he left his start against the Athletics on Friday because of the problem.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Maturing prospect Butler: 'Control what you can'

Young righty vying for rotation spot after release of catch partner Chacin

Maturing prospect Butler: 'Control what you can'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-handed pitching prospect Eddie Butler's increased maturity was one reason the club felt comfortable releasing Jhoulys Chacin. But Butler will not go as far as to attach his development to Chacin's departure.

Besides, Chacin had something to do with Butler coming into this season better prepared than last year. Butler, a 2012 Draft pick, was called up in June, but shoulder problems limited him to three Major League starts. At the Rockies' urging, Butler spent most of the offseason in Scottsdale and frequently worked out with Chacin, a Scottsdale winter resident who was rehabbing shoulder problems of his own.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Chacin release means time is now for pitching prospects

Gray, Butler among young arms ready to make impact

Chacin release means time is now for pitching prospects

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss admitted Monday that releasing veteran right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin could be risky, but they can't worry about the possibility that they made a mistake.

The decision was based on righty prospects Jon Gray and Eddie Butler -- and other young pitchers such as Christian Bergman and David Hale -- displaying that they could be ready to make an impact. The other side is, they let go of an experienced pitcher in Chacin, who at 27 could spend the rest of his career making the Rockies regret the move.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Top prospects Gray, Butler get chance to prove themselves

Onetime ace Chacin released by Rockies

Top prospects Gray, Butler get chance to prove themselves

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jon Gray and Eddie Butler, two prime pitching prospects in the Rockies system, have pitched so well this spring that the biggest question is when they might get an opportunity to prove themselves at the big league level.

The answer came Sunday.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tulo, Kendrick set tone in shutout of D-backs

Rockies' Opening Day starter delivers 4 innings of 2-hit ball

Tulo, Kendrick set tone in shutout of D-backs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies Opening Day starter Kyle Kendrick looked sharp Sunday, allowing just two hits over four strong innings as the Rockies beat the D-backs, 6-0, at Salt River Fields.

D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray was unable to reach four innings, as his pitch count got up to 74 through three. Ray, who is on the edge of the rotation competition, threw four innings in his previous start.

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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies unexpectedly part ways with Chacin

Right-hander, 27, struggled this spring after shoulder issues cut short his 2014 season

Rockies unexpectedly part ways with Chacin

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin said being unconditionally released on Sunday was a surprise. Though he said he understood the Rockies' decision because of the money involved -- with him not at full velocity after a shoulder injury last year -- he believes he will be ready for the regular season should another team claim him.

The move was unexpected. The Rockies signed him to a one-year, $5.5 million contract to avoid arbitration this offseason, although he was coming off a 2014 during which he started just 11 games because of rotator cuff and labrum issues. The Rockies and noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews consulted with him and decided on rest and rehab rather than surgery.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pitching prospect Diaz impressing Weiss

Rockies manager says club envisions right-hander as late-innings reliever

Pitching prospect Diaz impressing Weiss

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It appears to be a matter of when, not if, reliever Jairo Diaz will pitch in the big leagues for the Rockies this season.

"A big-time arm," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "His stuff certainly plays in this league."

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bettis among 12 players sent down at Rockies camp

Bettis among 12 players sent down at Rockies camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies optioned right-hander Chad Bettis, left-hander Chris Rusin and first baseman Ben Paulsen to Minor League camp Sunday.

Bettis, who pitched out of the bullpen last year, has remade himself into a starter and will continue to pitch in that role.

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Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Axford eyes strong start to season in setup role

Axford eyes strong start to season in setup role

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies reliever John Axford is preparing for the season the same way he always has, even though he's not expected to leave Spring Training as his team's closer.

The Rockies are giving ninth-inning duties to LaTroy Hawkins for a second straight year, which means, barring injury, Axford will enter the season as one of the right-handed setup men. The last time Axford entered a season not expecting to be his team's closer was 2010, a year he began in Triple-A with the Brewers.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bean brings message of inclusion to Rockies camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- MLB Ambassador of Inclusion Billy Bean toured the Rockies' Salt River Fields at Talking Stick complex Friday and met with club officials, emphasizing that he's available to help with inclusion issues.

Bean has said hiding the fact he is gay created a stress level that shortened his career as a utility player in the Majors, and is most connected to the issue of sexual orientation in the sport. However, Bean said his role is deeper than simply speaking engagements or seminars for players about the issue.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.