10/09/07 10:00 PM ET
Notes: Carroll ready for NLCS
Utility man eager to contribute any way he can
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
On Aug. 11, the Rockies trailed the Cubs, 2-1, in the sixth when Carroll knocked a pinch-hit grand slam that propelled the club to run away, 15-2. But that pales in comparison to his redemption against the Padres in his mind."I've always said I'd rather strike out with the bases loaded than make an error in a game," said Carroll, who has nine home runs in 580 regular-season games with the Expos/Nationals and the Rockies. "At this stage, with my role on this team, for me, I'll take that double play any day." New strategy, same attitude: Right-handed reliever Matt Herges, rejected by all of baseball until the Rockies gave him a Minor League contract just before Spring Training, qualified for the Triple-A All-Star Game while at Colorado Springs and was proud of that. But the Rockies called him up before he could make the trip to Albuquerque. Since then, Herges, 37, has proved he's still Major League. Herges went 5-1 with a 2.98 ERA during the regular season and earned two key outs in his only NLDS appearance, the clincher. But it's not accurate to say Herges has turned back the clock to, say, 2003, when he was a key reliever with the Giants' playoff squad. Formerly a power pitcher, Herges has reinvented himself. "My nature is brute force and ignorance, full-bore, but it was not cutting it," Herges said. "So I took my lumps quite a bit to figure out I need to be a finesse guy. "I need to outthink them. I need to outlocate them. Basically, the confidence is the biggest thing. I have confidence right now." The leader returns: Hurdle returned for the squad's workout on Tuesday at Coors Field after going home early Monday because he was suffering from flu-like symptoms. When standout left fielder Matt Holliday arrived, he wasn't sure if his manager was there. "Obviously nobody wants to be sick right now," he said with a smile. "I don't know if he's here or not, but I'm going to steer clear." On the four-day layoff between vanquishing the Phillies and facing the Diamondbacks, Holliday said, "It feels a little funny. Practice feels almost like another All-Star break."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.