Gotta love Opening Day. The chance to get back into a major league stadium is what players wait for the entire off season.
It was the first day for most major league teams, but also most minor league clubs. In the Colorado Rockies system, several former Tri-City Dust Devils got their first taste of the 2012 season on Thursday.
Asheville, the Rockies’ low-level single-A club, did not play because of inclement weather. The Tourists will play Friday and then play a doubleheader against Delmarva on Saturday. Modesto, the high-level A team, got its game in. The Nuts, however, lost 4-3 to San Jose. Here’s a look at the box score. I’m sure you’ll notice a few familiar names that came through Gesa Stadium.
In double-A Tulsa, the Drillers got off to a great start, and they had plenty of former Dust Devils to thank for a 7-2 win over San Antonio. Congrats to Josh Rutledge for his first homer of the year, and also to Michael Mitchell for his first stolen base. Take a close look at the pitching line, too, and you’ll see that each of the four pitchers was a Tri-City player at one point or another over the last few seasons.
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In Triple-A Colorado Springs, the Sky Sox fell 5-2 in Reno after Christian Friedrich had a rough outing, giving up six hits and four runs over five innings. Interestingly enough, all six hits and four runs came in the third inning. Otherwise, he was solid. Thomas Field added two hits and an RBI.
At the major league level, the Colorado Rockies begin their 2012 season in Houston at 2 p.m. today. There are four Dust Devils alumni on the 25-man roster, three of them pitchers. Juan Nicasio made a nice impression as a rookie last year, but he’ll get the start Sunday. As far as the others, you just might see them Friday if you get the chance.
Matt Reynolds was solid for the Rockies as a long reliever last year, and Rex Brothers is expected to be one of the top set-up men in the league this year. And how about Jordan Pacheco, who spent part of 2007 in Tri-City as a middle infielder and then came back the next year as a catcher. The Rockies decided they needed to find a way to get his bat into the lineup, so he’ll be getting the lion’s share of starts at third base this season.
Overall, there’s definitely no shortage of former Tri-City players to keep track of. It’ll be my job to keep you updated.
Stay tuned right here for the latest progress reports.