Top pitching prospect worked through tough stretch to earn trip to Majors
By Dargan Southard
DENVER -- Words weren't needed when Jon Gray entered the office of Albuquerque Isotopes manager Glenallen Hill on Sunday night. The Rockies' most heralded pitching prospect was handed a plane ticket and knew where to take it from there.
"I was like, 'Hey I know what this means,'" Gray said on Monday from his Coors Field locker. "And [Hill] was like, 'Yep.'"
Dargan Southard is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Gonzalez named NL's July Player of the Month
By Jamal Collier
After a slow start to the season, Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez compiled a red-hot month of July, reminding the rest of the league that he can still be a dynamic player. He was named the National League Player of the Month on Monday, after belting an NL-high 11 home runs, with 24 RBIs and an .841 slugging percentage.
This included a stretch of three multihomer games in a four-game span, making Gonzalez just the second player in the past 12 seasons to complete that feat; the last was the White Sox's Carlos Quentin in 2010. Seven of Gonzalez's home runs came during a torrid five-game stretch.
ST. LOUIS -- Right-hander Jon Gray, the Rockies' top pick in the 2013 Draft and their top-ranked pitching prospect and No. 2 prospect overall, according to MLB.com, will make his Major League debut on Tuesday night against the Mariners at Coors Field, a source told MLB.com on Sunday night.
Gray, 23, chosen third overall out of Oklahoma, has gone 6-6 with a 4.33 ERA in 21 games, including 21 starts, at Triple-A Albuquerque. He started slowly, but since May 2 he is 6-3 with a 3.17 ERA, 93 strikeouts and 33 walks over 17 outings.
ST. LOUIS -- The sight of Jose Reyes at shortstop for the Rockies against the Mariners could be a jarring one at Coors Field on Monday night.
For the last 10 seasons, fans have anticipated the brilliance of five-time All-Star Troy Tulowitzki, or, more often than they'd care to remember, wondered when he'd make his return from injury. But with Tulowitzki wowing new fans with the Blue Jays, it's time to get to know Reyes -- a four-time All-Star in his own right. Unlike Tulowitzki, Reyes is well-traveled, playing for the Marlins, Mets and Blue Jays before being traded to the Rockies on July 27.
DENVER -- The question about the eventual promotion of Jon Gray to the big leagues has always been about when, never if. The answer is Tuesday.
Colorado's first-round Draft pick (No. 3 overall) in 2013, who ranks second among Rockies prospects, is scheduled to become the 21st player -- ninth starting pitcher -- drafted since 2013 to get to the big leagues. Considering the consistency Gray has shown at Triple-A Albuquerque, now is as good a time as any for him to start making the transition to the Majors.
ST. LOUIS -- Lefty Yohan Flande has spent the last two seasons filling in wherever the Rockies need him, but his last two outings can be seen as a bid to convince manager Walt Weiss that Flande can fill a starting rotation need.
Coming off his first Major League victory Tuesday night against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Flande held the Cardinals to two runs and four hits in five innings in the Rockies' 3-2 loss at Busch Stadium. Brandon Moss won it with a pinch-hit RBI single off Scott Oberg in the bottom of the ninth.
ST. LOUIS -- New acquisition Brandon Moss delivered his first big hit with the Cardinals -- an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to deliver a 3-2 victory over the Rockies at Busch Stadium before 44,743.
ST. LOUIS -- Third baseman Nolan Arenado's slump snuck up on the Rockies.
Between June 28 -- the day after he homered twice in a loss at San Francisco -- and Friday, Arenado hit .230 with just one home run. However, there was just one three-game hitless streak, and 10 of his 23 hits during the span were doubles. Add that with his consistently dazzling defense and the fact he appeared in his first All-Star Game, and the fact his average had dipped wasn't glaring.
ST. LOUIS -- Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa hadn't won in three starts and was barely competitive in two of them. Saturday night, he took a simple approach to correcting the problem, and wound up throwing 6 2/3 efficient innings in a 6-2 victory over the Cardinals.
"The only thing I have to do is attack the hitter like I did today," De La Rosa said.
ST. LOUIS -- A Cardinals team that exploded to life with 28 hits and 15 runs in the first two games of the series struggled on Saturday against left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, who threw 6 2/3 innings and lifted the free-swinging Rockies to a 6-2 victory in front of 45,216 at Busch Stadium at Saturday night.
"We always feel good handing Jorge the ball, especially after a tough loss or when the bullpen is taxed," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss, who had to exhaust his bullpen when Kyle Kendrick suffered right shoulder inflammation and left after one inning of Friday night's 7-0 loss. "He almost always rises to the occasion."
ST. LOUIS -- Time will tell if Rockies 2010 No. 1 Draft pick Kyle Parker is in the Majors to stay. But at least this time he's here to play.
The club recalled Parker, an outfielder and first baseman who turns 26 on Sept. 30, before Saturday's 6-2 win over the Cardinals, while placing outfielder Corey Dickerson on the 15-day disabled list with non-displaced fractures of two ribs.
ST. LOUIS -- Having dealt shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays in a major deal Monday, the Rockies let the final four days leading to Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline pass without another move. That means several questions remain as the Rockies attempt to set their future course.
Sending Tulowitzki and relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to Toronto allowed the Rockies to add to their depth of pitching prospects. Righty Miguel Castro made his debut with the Blue Jays earlier in the year and has a power arm that could be used in starting or relief (he's in the Triple-A Albuquerque bullpen). Righty Jeff Hoffman, the ninth overall pick in 2014, is at Double-A and gives the Rockies a sorely needed power starter who is not far from the Majors.
By Jenifer Langosch and Thomas Harding
ST. LOUIS -- Behind blasts from Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta, as well as a bounceback start by Michael Wacha, the Cardinals cruised to a 7-0 win over the Rockies at Busch Stadium on Friday night. The win improved the Cardinals to 39-15 at home, while Colorado has dropped 18 of its last 23 road games.
Carpenter sparked the offense for a second straight night by leading off the first with his third home run in five at-bats. Rockies starter Kyle Kendrick allowed another first-inning run before exiting the game with right shoulder inflammation.
ST. LOUIS -- Rockies left fielder Corey Dickerson's frustrating season took another painful turn Friday, when an MRI revealed that he suffered non-displaced fractures of two ribs ono the right side while diving for a line drive during Thursday's 9-8 loss to the Cardinals.
The injury was announced as a rib contusion on Thursday. Dickerson said he didn't know his injury was as extensive as it was until he was tested at Busch Stadium on Friday before a 7-0 loss to the Cardinals. From on his back, he tried sitting up using his abdominal muscles, and the pain revealed that the injury was worse than he knew the night before.
ST. LOUIS -- Rockies right-hander Kyle Kendrick left Friday night's 7-0 loss to the Cardinals after one inning with right shoulder inflammation, and will undergo an MRI on Monday in Denver. Kendrick said a doctor told him a rotator cuff issue is suspected, but he hopes it's not serious.
Kendrick (4-12, 6.43 ERA), who took the loss on Friday, said he has been pitching through the soreness for two months. On Friday, he couldn't do long-toss before the game and came out when his fastball, usually around 88 mph, dipped to 83.
Rockies No. 11 prospect finishes a strong July with a grand slam for the Isotopes
By Alex M. Smith
Trevor Story helped couldn't save Triple-A Albuquerque from a 10-9 extra-innings defeat to Salt Lake, but he tried.
The hot-hitting Isotope cracked a grand slam -- his second of the season -- in a 1-for-5 night in the losing effort. He has eight homers and 21 RBIs in 25 games since he was promoted from Double-A New Britain.
ST. LOUIS -- Having channeled his energy and intensity quite well through the first months of the season, Carlos Martinez admitted he let his emotions get the best of him on Thursday night and apologized afterward for the way his five-inning outing ended.
Martinez didn't factor into the Cardinals' 9-8 victory over the Rockies, but his demeanor was a prominent topic in both clubhouses afterward. The two sides offered various explanations as to why things went awry, but there was mutual agreement that Martinez crossed a line when, after securing an inning-ending double play, he threw his glove to the ground and flashed an obscene gesture toward the Rockies' dugout.
By Jenifer Langosch and Thomas Harding
ST. LOUIS -- In a game that featured six lead changes, the Cardinals snagged the final one, stunning the Rockies with a three-run ninth to steal a 9-8 win at Busch Stadium on Thursday night. Greg Garcia, who had been called up from Triple-A earlier in the day, gave the Cardinals their seventh walk-off win of the year by drawing a bases-loaded walk.
ST. LOUIS -- Now would be a good time for left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to give the Rockies stability. But De La Rosa has not won in four starts since July 5, and in his last two starts he has coughed up 12 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings.
De La Rosa's last start, Monday against the Cubs, featured a stunning disappearance of command. After three spotless innings, De La Rosa walked the first two batters of the fourth, then gave up hits to five of the last seven batters and was out of the game with two out. The performance raised concerns that a cut on his left middle finger that has hampered him much of the season was the cause, but that wasn't the case.
CHICAGO -- Jose Reyes has the shiny stuff to decorate his walls and shelves and fill his bank account. But he's been traveling the continent -- granted, not always by choice -- chasing postseason success.
"I'm 32 years old, so it's getting late in my career," Reyes said Wednesday morning, before his first game as the Rockies' new shortstop -- a 3-2 loss to the Cubs in which he went 1-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base and a strikeout. "I want to win. I've been to the playoffs only once, 2006. It's been a long time for me.
CHICAGO -- Jon Lester struck out a season-high 14 batters across eight innings as the Cubs defeated the Rockies on Wednesday, 3-2, to take two of three games in the series at Wrigley Field. Lester became the first Cubs pitcher since Mark Prior in 2004 to throw 14 strikeouts, helping Chicago improve to two games above .500 in July.
Lester finished one strikeout shy of his career high, with at least one K in every inning, including six straight early on. He allowed five hits and one walk in his two-run performance to pick up just his sixth win of the season.
CHICAGO -- DJ LeMahieu had three hits, including an RBI double and a triple, and Nolan Arenado smacked a two-run double to power the Rockies to a 7-2 victory over the Cubs on Tuesday night and even the series at one win apiece.
This was the Rockies' first game after Troy Tulowitzki was traded to the Blue Jays, and they got off to a quick start, sending all nine batters to the plate in the first inning and scoring four runs against Chicago right-hander Dallas Beeler.
CHICAGO -- Left-hander Yohan Flande knows all about waiting, and he doesn't make a big deal about it.
Flande's pro career began with four seasons in the Dominican Summer League before he ever set foot in the U.S., then nine-plus seasons with the Phillies and Braves organizations before his first Major League game, last season with the Rockies. Finally, on Tuesday night, in his 24th big league appearance, he found himself in the win column after pitching five workmanlike innings in the Rockies' 7-2 victory over the Cubs.
CHICAGO -- Troy Tulowitzki admitted feeling "somewhat blindsided" when the Rockies traded him on Monday night, but he is turning his attention to a Blue Jays team that did its homework and considers him part of what it hopes is a playoff run.
"It's mixed emotions -- sad, excited, kind of like getting drafted all over again," said Tulowitzki, who as a rookie in 2007 contributed to a Rockies team that went to the World Series and later developed into one of the game's best shortstops. "It's like the big league debut. I didn't sleep at all last night, and I didn't sleep before my big league debut. It's tough, but all I can do is look forward and keep doing what I do, and things will work out."
During a bus ride at the end of June, Tulowitzki talked about one of his biggest takeaways from 10 years of experience. Recalls Arenado: "He said, 'I've been to All-Star Games, I've done those things, but the only thing you want to do is win. All those things get old compared to winning. Winning never gets old.'
Greg Garno is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Timing, Rockies' return made Tulo deal work
By Dargan Southard
DENVER -- Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich certainly wasn't shy in saying the most noteworthy trade in franchise history unfolded in an unusual fashion.
The blockbuster deal -- which sent franchise cornerstone Troy Tulowitzki and reliever LaTroy Hawkins to the Blue Jays for shortstop Jose Reyes and pitching prospects Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman and Jesus Tinoco -- was first confirmed roughly an hour after Colorado's 9-8 loss to the Cubs on Monday night.
CHICAGO -- The Rockies agreed to trade five-time All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays on Monday night. Colorado received four-time All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes and a package of three Minor League right-handers: Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco. The deal was announced Tuesday morning.
After the Rockies' 9-8 loss to the Cubs, Tulowitzki went into manager Walt Weiss' office and hadn't emerged by the time reporters were asked to leave the clubhouse. Tulowitzki was whisked out of the clubhouse, and he was later spotted emerging from a cab at the Hotel Palomar in downtown Chicago.