PHOENIX -- The arrival of third-base prospect Nolan Arenado meant the departure of Chris Nelson, the Rockies' 2004 No. 1 Draft choice and the team's starting third baseman since last season.
Nelson was in the difficult position of trying to hold the job knowing a guy with star potential was making an inevitable trek to the Major Leagues. Nelson hit .242 with no home runs and four RBIs from the No. 8 spot in the lineup this season.
The Rockies have 10 days to trade Nelson, release him or assign him to the Minors outright. The Rockies will certainly look into which teams have interest in Nelson on the waiver wire. He hit .301 in 111 games last season.
"It's important to honor Nellie and what he's meant to this organization," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's been here since he was a kid.
"Personally, my relationship goes beyond player-manager. They brought him in and worked him out before the Draft, and I was out there taking ground balls with him in front of our entire scouting department, and I was with him in our Minor League system. It was a very difficult night for me last night, certainly the worst night I've had on this job already. Of course, it's not as tough as it was for Nellie."
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki mentored Arenado during his time in the Minors, but also became friends with Nelson, so Sunday was difficult for him, too.
"You're excited for anybody that gets called up, but the first thought on my mind is Nellie," Tulowitzki said. "I consider him a great friend, someone I have a lot of respect for. I pray that things work out for him."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less