PHOENIX -- Rockies catcher Tony Wolters hit a three-run homer and starter Jon Gray struck out two over two scoreless innings to lead Colorado to a 7-1 victory over the Dodgers on Monday at Camelback Ranch.
The Rockies did not waste any time getting on the board. Second baseman Alexi Amarista walked on four pitches to start the game, and after a double play, first baseman Jordan Patterson followed with a homer to center field to put Colorado up, 1-0.
Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Gray builds confidence from first spring start
Potential ace overcomes two hits, hit batter to toss two scoreless frames
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For potential Rockies ace Jon Gray, his first inning was akin to choking down bitter medicine. Seeing the first two hitters of the spring reach on a hit and a hit batsman on Monday against the Dodgers wasn't good, but he figured it was good for him.
"At first I thought it was a bad thing," Gray said. "But I was thinking, 'This is good for me. I'm here to make pitches, anyway. Why not bring it to the next level?"
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Starting early sits quite well with Rockies left-handed reliever Jake McGee.
Playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic is but one of the reasons McGee, who pitched a scoreless inning in his Spring Training debut Monday against the Dodgers, is much closer than usual to regular-season speed. After battling left knee inflammation all last season on the heels of meniscus surgery late in 2015 while with the Rays, McGee began training earlier and more intensely.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Jeff Hoffman's performance Monday suggested he is a quick study.
Hoffman, who debuted late last season and is competing for a rotation spot, threw a solid 1 2/3 innings with two strikeouts and three hits in the Rockies' 7-1 victory over the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.
Being selected to represent the United States in the World Baseball Classic allows Arenado, the Colorado Rockies' star third baseman, to finally realize a dream that was sparked when he was 13. Then a budding shortstop from Southern California, he enjoyed what he thought was a strong performance in a Junior Olympics tournament in Arizona. Afterward, organizers would choose an all-tournament team that carried with it an invitation to represent the U.S. in an international competition.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox claimed a 7-3 victory over the Rockies on Sunday at Camelback Ranch in a game featuring key moments from players competing for roster spots on their respective teams.
German Marquez started for the Rockies and pitched two scoreless innings while allowing two hits. The No. 73 prospect in MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 is competing for a spot in Colorado's rotation. Pat Valaika, fighting for a utility spot, homered off White Sox starter Jose Quintana in the second.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies created a buzz among those who follow prospects when they put shortstop Brendan Rodgers, the third overall pick in the 2015 Draft, on the lineup card in the sixth inning of Sunday's game against the White Sox at Glendale, Ariz.
The shock didn't bother him too badly. Rodgers doubled and scored during a 7-3 loss to the White Sox.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez believes representing Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic could lead to a good start to the regular season.
The last time Gonzalez played in the Classic, which was in 2013, he hit .306 with a .389 on-base percentage and a .551 slugging percentage in 25 April games. He kept that going in May, posting a .308/.385/.607 line in 28 games.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- No matter where he hits in the order, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story showed Saturday he can make the ball fly. His teammates showed that the batting order doesn't matter, either.
Hitting in the seventh spot against the D-backs in the Cactus League opener, Story launched Archie Bradley's first pitch of the fourth inning over the center-field wall during the 8-4 victory over the D-backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. And eight of the Rockies' starting players reached base at least once -- seven with hits -- before substitutes finished the contest.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- While a nice crowd watched -- and wished -- during the Rockies' 8-4 Cactus League-opening victory over the D-backs on Saturday, new closer Greg Holland was on a practice field, quietly working toward making purple dreams come true.
Holland was signed to a one-year contract that guarantees him $7 million with heavy incentives and a vesting option for next season that could pay him at least $10 million and as much as $15 million in base salary. But he's also coming off Tommy John surgery that cost him all of the 2016 season. So his progress happens with care.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies outfield prospect Raimel Tapia's job this spring is to prove he is ready, even if he's not needed.
Tapia, 23, who is the No. 90 prospect and one of five Rockies on the MLB.com Top 100 Prospects, batted a combined .328 with a .361 on-base percentage at Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque last season. The performance earned him a 22-game look-see in the Majors during which he hit .263 with a .293 OBP in 41 plate appearances.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Reliever Jairo Diaz, whose right elbow injury last March was one of many reasons the Rockies' bullpen struggled last season, took a small but significant step Friday by facing hitters at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
Diaz, 25, who possesses a fastball that averaged 97.3 mph while going 0-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 26 combined games with the Angels (2014) and Rockies (2015), said he should be ready for a Minor League rehab assignment by May. When ready, Diaz could add power to a bullpen that looks to improve from last season, when its 5.13 ERA was the highest in the Major Leagues.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado spent Thanksgiving losing himself -- as much as possible for a baseball star -- in his family's homeland of Cuba. He returned to the United States thankful.
Arenado's grandfather, Gerardo, was a political prisoner in Fidel Castro's Cuba. Arenado's father Fernando, his twin brother and 12-year-old cousin were allowed to come to the United States. Gerardo left Cuba and went to Spain, before later receiving a visa to come to America.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After compiling the highest batting average and on-base percentage of his career last season with the Rockies, Mark Reynolds waited for guaranteed Major League offers that didn't come. But he wasn't disappointed enough to leave the continent.
Reynolds, 33, turned down a $3 million offer to play in Korea and re-signed with the Rockies on a Minor League contract. He stands to make $1.5 million if he makes the Major League club, and an additional $2.5 million is available via performance bonuses.
Logan Newman is a senior majoring in journalism at Arizona State University. This story is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Any discussion of Rockies shortstop Trevor Story begins with home runs and segues to the bat after he hit 27 home runs as a rookie in 2016. But Story would like his glove to be in the conversation.
"I'm really prideful of my defense, probably more than offense," Story said. "It's huge, especially at shortstop. You've got to have a good defender there. I don't really just want to be good. I want to be one of the great shortstops."
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- By joining the Rockies, left-handed-hitting Alexi Amarista can continue doing a little bit of everything for manager Bud Black.
Amarista, 27, broke in with the Angels in 2011 but truly gained footing in 2012 after joining the Padres, then managed by Black, who was there through the first 65 games of 2015. With the Padres, Amarista played every position except first base and catcher, even ending up on the mound twice (although the first wasn't until June 17, 2015, the game after Black's departure).
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu added the 2016 National League batting title to his honors that include a Rockies Wilson Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013 and a Rawlings Gold Glove in 2014. Still, he's guaranteed to show up on any list of underrated players.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado wants to come out ahead in more best vs. best matchups.
Arenado is recognized as one of the game's best players. He ranked 12th in MLB Network's recent ranking of baseball's Top 100 players. But he sees the next step as performing better against some of the best opposing pitchers, especially in the National League West.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With Presidents Day coinciding with Monday's first official full-squad workout of Rockies Spring Training (although many players have been at Salt River Fields for weeks), Rockies owner, chairman and CEO Dick Monfort stopped to reflect on the two holidays -- one on the calendar, one in the heart of baseball fans.
MLB.com asked Monfort to provide his main messages to Rockies fans going into the 2017 season:
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Charlie Blackmon appreciated the phone call from Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich, even though he didn't think it was necessary.
From the end of last season, speculation had flown that the depth of the Rockies' outfield and their needs in other areas meant the club would entertain trading Blackmon, the everyday center fielder since 2014. Speculation grew when the club signed Ian Desmond, who played center last season for the Rangers -- never mind that the Rockies said all along Desmond was going to play first base.