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Young, Astacio serving as special instructors


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- New manager Walt Weiss is reaching back to the Rockies' roots.

Eric Young, a standout second baseman with the Rockies in their early days and father of current Rockies player Eric Young Jr., arrived at camp Monday as a special instructor. He'll be in for a couple of weeks and will return for the end of cap, working with baserunners and helping players prepare for the National League West. Young was in the division last year as the D-backs' first-base coach.

"They have the freedom to coach, but with basestealing, he's got a lot to offer," Weiss said. "He's coached in the division, knows the pitchers. He brings a lot of positive energy. It's great to see him here."

Weiss also said Pedro Astacio, a 17-game winner for the Rockies in 1999 and fifth on the team's all-time wins list with 53, will arrive soon to work with pitchers.

Astacio found ways to be effective at Coors Field in the days before the team began storing baseballs in an atmosphere-controlled chamber to prevent them from shrinking and hardening. He finished 1999 with a 5.04 ERA, yet his 5.6 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) made for the second-best single-season WAR for a pitcher in Rockies history, according to Baseball-Reference.com. Only Ubaldo Jimenez's 7.3 in 2010 was better.

Weiss said chief baseball officer Dan O'Dowd and executive vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett saw Astacio in the Dominican Republic a few weeks ago and invited him. Weiss, who has former teammates Dante Bichette (hitting coach) and Vinny Castilla (special front-office assistant) in camp, would like as many former Rockies as possible to be involved.

"I love that stuff," Weiss said. "Bringing guys back that have been here and have a connection to the organization, that have been successful -- there's nothing negative about that. We don't have a lot of history here, so there's some credibility there. 'Petey,' having him around our pitchers is going to be great.

"My message to him is to roam around here, spread some love and some wisdom."

Asked if Larry Walker, who won the NL Most Valuable Player Award in 1997, might be asked to spend some time with the club after serving as Canada's hitting coach during the World Baseball Classic, Weiss smiled and said, "We'll see."

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