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Short flight turns into long night for Rockies

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LOS ANGELES -- The Rockies' scheduled one-hour flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles after Sunday afternoon's game degenerated into a mess that led to the team not landing until 3 a.m. PT.

The flight was supposed to take off around 6 p.m., but two mechanical issues left the club waiting aboard the plane from about 6 to 7:45 p.m.. The Rockies had to switch planes, a process that didn't have them taking off until around 2 a.m.

"It was a tough night, with most of the guys getting to bed around 4 a.m.," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "I was really impressed with the way the guys handled themselves. Nobody was happy about it. It wasn't fun for anybody, but the guys handled it really well."

At least right-hander Tyler Chatwood, Monday night's starting pitcher, didn't have the full effect of the fatiguing night. The Rockies sent him ahead to make sure he had proper rest. The Rockies decided not to take batting practice before Monday's game so players could have more rest.

But they had fun with it, at the expense of third-base callup Nolan Arenado.

Saturday night, when Arenado was called up, a driver was arranged to take him from Tucson, Ariz., where Triple-A Colorado Springs was playing, to Phoenix. But the driver made frequent stops and admitted fatigue, so Arenado's parents -- who happened to have been in Tucson and were following in another car -- took over the driving. Then Arenado's first flight as Major Leaguer turned into a logistical mess.

"Believe me, everyone was blaming it on Nolan," Weiss said.

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.

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