Taveras feels good to go for NLCS
Rox speedster shows no ill effects from injured quad Tuesday
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The seven fly balls he chased down, and a bunt attempt that tested his speed, provided Rockies center fielder Willy Taveras all the evidence he needed Tuesday afternoon to pronounce himself ready to go for the National League Championship Series.Taveras played all nine innings of an instructional league game against the Diamondbacks on a hot Tuesday afternoon at the D-backs' Spring Training facility, contributing a run-scoring single to the Rockies' victory. "I feel good, really good," Taveras said afterward. "It's up to them to decide what they are going to do." The Rockies will work out at Chase Field in Phoenix on Wednesday afternoon as they prepare for the best-of-seven NLCS opener Thursday night against the Diamondbacks. A side session is planned for Taveras, who has been bothered by a sore right quadriceps muscle that limited him to 25 at-bats after coming off the 15-day disabled list, and also cost him a spot on the Rockies' 25-man roster for the NL Division Series against the Phillies. Taveras hopes Wednesday's workout goes so well that the Rockies put him on their NLCS roster. The 25-year-old speedster missed the final 13 games in August, played the first seven games in September -- going 11-for-25 -- but re-injured his quad and reported to Tucson on Oct. 2 for treatment and rehab. There appeared no doubt whatsoever on Tuesday that he's fit to return to action. "He has improved a lot from where he was when he first got here to where he is now," Rockies farm director Marc Gustafson said of Taveras, who batted .320 and stole 33 bases during the regular season. "He accomplished what he needed to accomplish during this program. "It appears that he's ready, but he'll go up to Phoenix [on Wednesday] for a workout, and I'm sure their decision will be based on how he runs. He had some good activity in the gaps today, and it didn't look like he was favoring his leg at all."
Taveras fouled out in the top of the first inning and raced into right-center to snare a line drove for the final out in the bottom of the first. He was twice hit by pitches, but the liberal rules being used allowed him to remain at the plate as a teammate went to first base.It was after the second HBP that Taveras hit a hot shot into left field, driving in a run. He later scored from second on a triple to right field, coasting around the bases with no hint of discomfort. "You look for things like, 'Is he dragging his leg at all?'" Gustafson said, "'and is he getting out of the box right away?'" The answers to both questions was "yes" and the smile on Taveras' face indicated it was a good day under a hot desert sun. "I ran a 3.65 down the line, and I don't think I could do any better than that," he said. "I felt good running, and it also felt good to play nine innings and get some action. I played seven innings the other day and didn't get a ball hit to me. I got a lot of balls today." The next fly ball that comes his way could be at Chase Field or Coors Field. "I just want to help the team as much as I can," he said. "The reason you work hard all spring and through the summer is to get into the playoffs, and I'd just like to be part of the club. They have been playing great without me, but I still feel part of the team and believe I can help." Another mending Rockies player, pitcher Aaron Cook, is scheduled to pitch seven innings on Wednesday during an instructional league game at Hi Corbett Field in Tucson. How he performs could help determine manager Clint Hurdle's pitching staff for the NLCS.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.