Pacheco's rookie season was hardly average
Poised to finish in top 10 in batting in National League
PHOENIX -- Rockies rookie infielder Jordan Pacheco went into Tuesday night's next-to-last game of the season clinging to the ninth-highest batting average in the National League at .304.
Where he ends up depends on his performance, but Rockies manager Jim Tracy has held firm to his word to make sure Pacheco ends the season eligible to be listed.At some point, Pacheco, 26, will sit back and enjoy his lofty standing in the league, as well as the fact that he'll most likely have the top average among rookies. "I don't know yet, just trying to finish strong for this team; we need to get two more wins," said Pacheco, who batted third in the lineup. To officially finish among the leaders, Pacheco will need 502 plate appearances. He went into Tuesday's game needing five. But Pacheco said focusing on an individual achievement would be against what he has learned this year. The season has been difficult for the Rockies, but Pacheco said he has been taught the right approach nonetheless. "We've got a bunch of guys that know how to play the game on this team, and we had a lot of veterans who mentored us from Spring Training on how to play this game," Pacheco said. "We play to the end, no matter what. We were taught that in Little League." Pacheco said the season has taught him about the grind that is a 162-game schedule, and he'll have a better understanding of how to prepare for next year. Pacheco played third base, first base and catcher, and will have to be ready for all three.
Physically, he dealt with periodic right quadriceps soreness. So the plan is to work with a trainer in his native New Mexico to come back next year stronger, although not necessarily bigger.Pacheco entered Tuesday's game with five home runs, less-than-ideal power for a corner infielder, but has 31 doubles and five triples -- an indication that there is potential for power. "The stronger you are, the farther the ball goes and the more stamina you have throughout the season," Pacheco said. "Everything is trial and error. I know what I can do. I don't want to change much, but I do want to be stronger, I do want to be in better shape and I want to make it through the season being able to play every day."
Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki finished his 2012 season with seven innings in an Arizona Instructional League game on Tuesday. Tulowitzki suffered a groin injury in late May, had surgery in June and finished the year with a .287 batting average with eight home runs and 27 RBIs in 47 games. He opted against trying to play in the final days of the regular season.
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.