On Tuesday, May 19th, the Dominican Republic became the first country other than Japan to take home the World Baseball Classic Trophy by defeating Puerto Rico, 3-0, in the championship game. Yankees’ second baseman Robinson Cano was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, but several former Sky Sox players also had a hand in the Dominican Republic’s victory.
2009 and 2010 Sky Sox pitcher Samuel Deduno was a key piece for the Dominican squad. In the final game the former Colorado Springs’ starter pitched five scoreless innings and struck out five batters.
While in the Rockies’ organization, Deduno was named the Texas League pitcher of the year for the Tulsa Drillers. That year Deduno only started in one game for the Sox, but in 2010 started in six games for Colorado Springs. In those six starts the righty went 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA and had 29 strikeouts. The other former Sky Sox players who were on the winning squad were pitcher Pedro Strop and infielder Denny Gonzalez, who served as a coach for the Dominican Republic. Strop dressed for the Sky Sox in 2008, but never played in a game for the team. Unlike Strop, Gonzalez played a full year for the Sky Sox. In 1989 the infielder hit .288 with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs.
After the World Baseball Classic, the Rockies signed another player who played an important role in the championship game. Thirty-five year old pitcher Giancarlo Alvarado was signed to a minor league deal by the Rockies after having a successful stint with Puerto Rico in the WBC. Alvarado was the starting pitcher opposite Deduno in the championship game, but only made it through one inning and gave up two runs in the loss.
Some other notable former Sky Sox players who have played in the World Baseball Classic are:
- Huston Street, Matt Holliday (2006 United States)
- Ubaldo Jimenez, Willy Taveras (2009 Dominican Republic)
- Kazuo Matsui (2013 Japan)
- Jhoulys Chacin, Ramon Hernandez, Carlos Gonzalez (2013 Venezuela)
Now that the WBC is over it means that Opening Day is almost here! Here are some news and notes from the second to last week of Spring Training.
- After last Friday’s win against the Reds, the Rockies struggled, dropping three straight. Colorado began to right the ship on Monday with a 7-2 victory against Kansas City and followed that up with a 10-4 win against San Fransisco on the 21st.
- Former Sky Sox player, and top prospect, Drew Pomeranz out dueled Giants’ ace Matt Cain on Thrusday, only allowing three runs in five innings and striking out four. In four starts during spring training Pomeranz has a 5.50 ERA.
- Outfielder Corey Dickerson continued to have a good spring training this week when he smacked two doubles against the Royals. The 2012 Doug Million Minor League Rockie-of-the-Year has hit .409 with one home run and eight RBIs in 22 at-bats for the team.
The Sky Sox opening day game against the Reno Aces, is less than three weeks away and the Rockies are beginning to shape their roster for the upcoming season. On Monday, March 11, the Rox made a series of roster moves that included optioning nine players down to minor league camp including:
Right-handed pitchers (3): Chad Bettis, Parker Frazier, Dan Houston.
Left-handed pitcher (2): Tyler Anderson, Erick Threets.
Catchers (1): Lars Davis.
Infielders (1): Cristhian Adames.
Outfielder (2): Rafael Ortega, Kyle Parker.
- Pitchers Frazier, Houston, Threets and catcher Lars Davis were non-roster invitees to camp and Christian Adames and Rafael Ortega were on the 40-man roster to begin Spring Training and were optioned down.
- Out of those nine players, Rafael Ortega saw the most action in spring training. In eight games the 21-year old had three hits in six at-bats and two walks. Ortega made his Major League debut late last year, but spent the majority of the time with the Modesto Nuts where he hit .283 with 36 stolen bases.
- The Rockies continued their strong spring training by winning three out of their five games this past week.
- This past week also marked the beginning of Minor League camp. On Thursday, the Rockies and the Diamondbacks played a Double-A game and a Triple-A game. Both games featured players in the minor league camp as well as players still on the big league roster. Juan Nicasio was the star of the Triple-A game for Colorado as he went 4.2 innings and only gave up two hits.
- The Triple-A game also saw the return of 2012 Sox outfielder Charlie Blackmon. Blackmon has been kept out of action since March 1st because of an infected cut on his knee. In his return he went 1-6 with a walk.
- The Rockies’ next five games are:
- 3/15 vs. Reds 8:05 pm MDT
- 3/16 vs. Mariners 2:10 pm MDT
- 3/17 vs. Giants 4:15 pm MDT
- 3/18 vs. Reds 8:10 pm MDT
- 3/19 vs. Royals 2:05 pm MDT
There is less than one month to go until opening day and the Sky Sox are getting ready for the season. Last weekend the team held their annual National Anthem Tryouts at the Chapel Hills Mall. The tryouts featured over 100 participants competing for a chance to sing the Anthem on April 4. The runner-up will sing “God Bless America” on July 4 and the finishers in the top-ten will receive a free singing lesson from the Colorado Springs Conservatory. Winners will be announced sometime in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned to skysox.com and our Facebook page for updates.
Besides being a busy week for the staff it was also a busy week for the Colorado Rockies. Here are some updates from Spring Training.
- Top Rockies’ prospect Nolan Arenado continues to impress. The third baseman is currently slated to begin the year with the Sox, but his strong Spring Training leads some to believe he might be ready for a spot on the Rockies’ Opening Day roster. Arenado has only played in seven games, but is tied for the lead in home runs with four and leads the Rockies in slugging percentage at 1.235.
- In 2007, pitcher Jeff Francis started in 34 games and won 17 games for the Rockies. Since then Francis has only won 20 games in 101 starts. The lefty is looking to reinvigorate his career and is off to a good start this spring. In nine innings Francis has yet to give up a run and has only allowed six hits.
- Since the last Spring Training update on 2/28, the Rockies have gone 3-2 with wins against the Brewers, Cubs and Team USA.
- On Wednesday, March 6, the Rockies found themselves down five runs in the ninth inning against Team USA before hitting seven straight singles to take the lead and win the game. Colorado began the rally against Rockies’ pitcher Nick Schmidt who was loaned to Team USA from Colorado. Catcher Lars Davis then drove in the game winning run against another Rockie, Logan Kensing.
- The Rockies’ next five games are:
- 3/9 vs. Angels 1:05 pm MST
- 3/10 vs. Dodgers 1:10 pm MST
- 3/11 vs. White Sox 1:05 pm MST
- 3/12 vs. D-backs 1:10 pm MST
- 3/13 vs. Cubs 1:05 pm MST