Notes: Spilborghs shows promise

Notes: Spilborghs shows promise

MIAMI -- The Rockies called outfielder Ryan Spilborghs during the offseason and asked for his trust.

Colorado needed for him to come off the 40-man roster of players eligible for Major League service in order to make a couple of acquisitions. Giving up a spot would make it difficult for Spilborghs to make the team, no matter how well he performed in Spring Training.

"I was willing to come off and make room for somebody else, so we can get guys like [infielder] Jamey Carroll and [pitcher] Josh Fogg," Spilborghs said. "I was glad to do it. As long as I had a fair shot to come into camp and show what I could do, I wasn't worried about the roster. I knew the Rockies liked me.

"There is trust. I believed when [Rockies general manager] Dan [O'Dowd], told me they were still going to give me a fair shot, and [assistant GM] Bill Geivett told me the same thing. I just kept working and had no bad blood."

Partly because of his non-roster status, Spilborghs began the year at Triple-A Colorado Springs, despite batting .367 during the spring. But the Rockies liked him enough to give him a phone call when Todd Helton went on the disabled list with intestinal problems.

In seven games going into Saturday night against the Marlins, Spilborghs is 3-for-5 with two walks. He drew a 10th-inning leadoff walk Friday night and scored the winning run in the Rockies' 3-2 victory.

When Spilborghs went to Triple-A, he hit .328 with seven doubles and kept the same strike zone discipline that helped make him a favorite of the Colorado organization.

"I've gotten an idea of what pitches are good for hitting, and I just look for my pitch," Spilborghs said. "If I don't get it, I'm not going to go up there hacking."

Carroll getting time: Carroll started at second base for the fifth time in the last seven games. This time, it was not at the expense of Opening Day starter Luis Gonzalez, who started at first base as the Rockies forged a right-handed lineup against Marlins lefty starter Jason Vargas.

Manager Clint Hurdle said Gonzalez has struggled since suffering an early-season wrist injury. Gonzalez went 0-for-8 in a four-game series in Philadelphia, and began Saturday at .213. Carroll entered batting .333, including .385 with five walks in the previous six games.

"I want to get 'Gonzo' back at second," Hurdle said. "But I'm going to try to find a way to keep Carroll involved. That's one of the challenges when you have depth like we have -- we've got three infielders, two on the bench that have been as productive as Carroll and [Jason] Smith have been, and need to keep them all involved, keep them all sharp.

"'Gonzo' obviously has got some history -- two straight years at this level being a productive player. I'm not going to forget that. We can't forget that or lose sight of that."

Miguel Ojeda, batting .324, also started for the third straight game at catcher. Hurdle said Danny Ardoin, who started on Opening Day but is batting .188, will start Sunday afternoon's finale of the three-game series. Hurdle also moved right-handed-hitting shortstop Clint Barmes to the leadoff spot. Center fielder Cory Sullivan, the usual leadoff man, was not in the lineup. Choo Freeman started in center.

The Rockies had not faced a lefty starter before Saturday.

On the Rox: Eli Marrero was not healthy enough to start on Saturday night because of a rib cage strain. It could have been an opportunity to rest left-handed-hitting Brad Hawpe, but Hurdle wants Hawpe to develop against left-handed pitching. There is a possibility that Marrero will be in the lineup on Sunday. ... First baseman Ryan Shealy, on the disabled list since Spring Training because of a right elbow strain, will fly to Denver on Monday, then join Triple-A Colorado Springs to begin a rehab assignment. ... Yorvit Torrealba, projected to get a large share of the catching duty before he suffered a right shoulder strain in Spring Training, is progressing slowly. Hurdle said Torrealba has not been able to throw on consecutive days and sometimes needs two days between sessions.

Up next: The Rockies were expected to announce after Saturday's game that right-hander Byung-Hyun Kim will make his 2006 debut on Sunday against the Marlins and righty Sergio Mitre (1-2, 4.56 ERA). Kim suffered a right hamstring strain late in Spring Training and began the year on the DL.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.