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DENVER -- Rockies hitters got to see Friday what the rest of the National League hasn't seen very well this past month.
Jeff Francis and Ubaldo Jimenez threw to hitters in a simulated game that included manager Clint Hurdle playing left field, former Rockies star Vinny Castilla at third and first-base coach Glenallen Hill in center field. Francis and Jimenez, who will most likely start Game 1 and 2 of the World Series, had success against their teammates and each threw four innings at 15 pitches an inning.
"Although the adrenaline isn't there of a full-fledged game, you're still out there facing hitters, and the competition is there, and you want to go out and not get embarrassed," Francis said. "So I think that's a good preparation, and now I'm on my five-day schedule where I can pitch on a Wednesday."
Francis and Jimenez appear to be the clear-cut Games 1 and 2 starters, but the rest of the rotation has not been revealed. Opening Day starter Aaron Cook presents the Rockies with a decision to make.
Cook will throw in a simulated game on Sunday and is ready to pitch after throwing in an instructional league game in Arizona and throwing to hitters before Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. He was ready for the NLCS, but the Rockies decided to keep him off the roster and use rookie Franklin Morales and Josh Fogg.
"It was probably one of the most difficult decisions I had to make regarding personnel since I've been here," Hurdle said. "And you do have to find a way to step back and be objective, but you also need to pay attention to skill sets and pitches and performance and maybe past history. You just need to have acute vision."
If Hurdle pays attention to past history, Cook's best bet to make the roster could be if the Rockies play the Red Sox in the World Series. Cook held the Red Sox to two runs in 7 1/3 innings on June 12 in Boston.
Hurdle said Friday that they were going to begin roster discussions after practice and the opponent could factor in on the decision.
The Rockies will go head-to-head against each other again Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Josh Fogg, Taylor Buchholz, Matt Herges, Brian Fuentes, Jeremy Affeldt, Manny Corpas and Jason Hirsh will all throw to hitters Saturday.
Hirsh, who spent most of the last half of the season on the disabled list, did not make the roster for either of the first two series, but like Cook, is ready to go. He's best chance to make the roster would be because of an injury to another Rockies pitcher.
Rockies hitters did not run on Friday but will do so Saturday. Hurdle said the intensity would be turned up for Saturday's practice, which will have the Rockies regulars also playing in the field.
"It's kind of weird," Yorvit Torrealba said. "Obviously, you don't have your adrenaline out there. It's kind of a weird feeling, but it's good. We need that."
As for Francis, he's off until Game 1 and ready to face someone other than his teammates. His teammates probably feel likewise.
"It's not fun, because you don't want to be the brunt of a lot of trash talk," Francis said. "You try to just execute. Jamey Carroll and Troy Tulowitzki hit me hard a couple of times, and other than that I was able to get some ground balls and get some guys out front."
Hurdle rocks but doesn't watch ALCS:
Hurdle has said that he has not caught much of the past two games between the Indians and Red Sox. He said Friday that's what videotape is for.
During Thursday's off-day and Game 5 for the Indians and Red Sox, Hurdle attended prominent local radio station KBCO's 30th birthday bash at Denver's Paramount Theater.
With Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin, Keb' Mo', Paolo Nutini and Louden Wainwright filling the bill, the crowd burst into cheers whenever a musician filled the space between songs with a quick "Go, Rockies!" cheer.
Hurdle is a frequent guest on the KBCO morning show, and the chance to relax with some "world class rock" before his team's first World Series was clearly refreshing. After a KBCO DJ pointed out Hurdle from the stage, the Rockies skipper got the biggest hand of the night and graciously greeted fans between sets as the celebration rocked on.
Quote of the day: LaTroy Hawkins on his bullpen session: "I felt pretty good, threw a no-hitter ... I had that miss 'em pitch."
Hawkins also had the luxury of not facing any batters.