07/04/10 12:08 AM ET
Draft pick Parker visits Coors Field
By Thomas Harding and Joey Nowak / MLB.com
He enjoys hunting and fishing.
Parker is spending part of his Fourth of July weekend in the Rockies' clubhouse, which is notorious for housing a band of outdoorsmen. He took batting practice with the team before Saturday's game -- hitting a few balls into the outfield seats -- while visiting with family and learning his way around Coors Field.
"I've enjoyed being out here and meeting a lot of the guys and the management and all the people in the front office," Parker said. "I see myself fitting in real well here. It'll be interesting to see -- I think I'm going to sit down in the next few weeks and figure out what I want to do."
Parker, the 26th overall choice in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, is a 6-foot-1, 200-pound outfielder from Clemson who also plays quarterback for the Tigers' football team. The Rockies have a history of success with former college quarterbacks, including outfielder Seth Smith and, most notably, first baseman Todd Helton.
Parker hit .344 with 20 home runs and 64 RBIs for the Tigers, who made it to the College World Series semifinals this season.
"I realized that I really enjoy playing over the last three years and I've had a really good experience at Clemson and I could really see myself playing baseball as a career," he said.
The first NCAA athlete to throw for 20 touchdowns and hit 20 home runs in a season, Parker has three years of football eligibility remaining and a tough decision to make.
"We know what we're getting involved with," said Bill Schmidt, Rockies vice president of scouting. "We're getting some athletes who bring some intangibles with them."
After being spotted by area scout Jay Matthews and evaluated by assistant scouting director Danny Montgomery, this gives more people in the organization a chance to meet Parker.
"He literally just got done playing last week," Schmidt said. "This was our first chance to have him come in, sit down and visit, for us to get a better feel for him and him to get a better feel for us and what we're all about."
De La Rosa lit up in rehab start
DENVER -- Saturday was not a good night for the Rockies' best two pitchers.
While ace Ubaldo Jimenez was giving up seven runs at Coors Field, left-hander Jorge De La Rosa -- who came close to matching Jimenez's brilliance before suffering a middle finger injury 10 weeks ago -- was having a rocky Minor League rehab appearance for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
De La Rosa gave up eight runs, seven earned, and 10 hits over 4 2/3 innings in a start at Salt Lake City. All of the runs came in the first two innings. De La Rosa gave up five extra-base hits, including a Mark Trumbo home run.
De La Rosa went 19-4 in 26 starts from last June until he suffered the torn band of a tendon on his middle finger on April 25. He is 3-1 with a 3.91 ERA in four Major League starts this season.
It was the third injury rehab outing for De La Rosa, who had given up two runs on seven hits, with 10 strikeouts and one walk, in his previous two outings. Rockies manager Jim Tracy has not said whether Saturday would be his last rehab outing.
Stewart leaves game with elbow injury
DENVER -- Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart left Saturday night's game against the Giants after seven innings with a left elbow contusion.
Stewart was 1-for-2 with a triple, but in the sixth inning was hit by Giants starter Barry Zito's 83 mph fastball on an 0-1 count. Stewart remained in the game until the top of the eighth. Melvin Mora moved from first base to third base, and Todd Helton, who did not start because he is recovering from lower back tightness, entered the game at first base.
There was no immediate word on how much action Stewart will miss. Stewart, hitting .250 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs, struggled to a .167 batting average in June, and recently had been dropped from seventh to eighth in the Rockies' order. He had hit safely in seven of his last 11 games.
Mora adjusting to playing first base
DENVER -- Rockies utility man Melvin Mora demonstrated during an eventful Tuesday night in San Diego that playing first base isn't easy. And although he has worked at the position daily, with Todd Helton's health uncertain because of back stiffness, Mora doesn't expect it to ever be easy.
Mora, who spent most of his career at third base and shortstop before joining the Rockies last winter, made a couple of game-saving plays, but also was charged with an error and had to make several hair-raising plays to save errors -- partly because of his lack of experience at the position -- in the Rockies' 6-3 victory.
Mora, whose right-handed bat dictated that he start Saturday night against the Giants' Barry Zito, said only game action, and maybe game mistakes, will help him become smoother at first base. Mora also has played second base this season, with mixed results, proving that there is an adjustment to flipping to the other side of the infield.
"Every day is different; it's not an easy job," Mora said. "Your body has to coordinate from a different angle. You have to be able to control all that.
"But even at third base, and I've been there forever, every day, I learn something different. When I went to the outfield, the ball gave me a strange hop. All you can do is practice, practice, practice. Then in the game, what happens, happens."
Mora, 38, is enjoying his return to the National League under a one-year, $1.275 million contract with the Rockies. He began his career with the Mets in 1999, but was with the Orioles from late 2000 through last season. Twice he represented the Orioles as a third baseman in the All-Star Game.
"I wanted to try something different," Mora said. "And in Colorado, I had a chance to win. That was a reason I chose to come here."
Gonzalez excelling at all outfield positions
DENVER -- The Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez was playing center field at what manager Jim Tracy felt was a Gold Glove-worthy level while Dexter Fowler was in the Minors correcting his hitting stroke.
With Fowler back, Gonzalez has moved back to left with no need for an adjustment period.
Many an outfielder has said center is easier than the corners because of the direct view at the pitch location and the ball off the bat. Gonzalez is non-pulsed.
"For me, it's easier because you get used to covering all that ground in center," Gonzalez said. "Sometimes in left or right, the ball sinks when it comes at you or moves differently. But basically, it's who's hitting. If it's a right-hander and you're in right, the ball is going to go more toward the line. If you're in left and it's a left-hander, same thing. If you know that, you can get the best jump so I can get to the ball, slow down and catch it."
Actually, it could be argued that the Rockies' outfield for Saturday night's game against the Giants is the best the team has to offer. Gonzalez, Fowler and Ryan Spilborghs, who started in right field, all have extensive experience in center and are considered strong in all aspects of outfield defense.
"We're pretty good -- we can cover a lot of room," Gonzalez said. "I don't know if we're the best defense in the league, but we feel confident."
Buchholz making strides toward return
DENVER -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy said although Taylor Buchholz gave up runs in consecutive outings for Triple-A Colorado Springs, the reliever has felt good in his rehab assignments and remains on track.
"We're obviously on a 30-day rehab and we have no definitive plan other than to look forward to the next time we're going to send him out and have him pitch again," Tracy said.
Buchholz pitched an inning in the Sky Sox's 5-3 loss to the Salt Lake Bees on Friday, giving up a homer. It was the first time he threw on back-to-back days since beginning the season on the disabled list.
Buchholz surrendered a run in each of his last two outings and has a 6.52 ERA with Colorado Springs.
Rockies succeeding despite injuries
DENVER -- Going into the halfway point of the season, the Rockies are doing more with less.
Their starting lineup Saturday was absent of regulars Troy Tulowitzki, Brad Hawpe and Todd Helton, who are all nursing injuries. They've also been without starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa and only recently activated closer Huston Street from the disabled list.
"I'm extremely proud of them," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "They're a very resilient group. ... Nobody's complaining. Nobody's making any excuses."
Entering Saturday's game against the Giants, the Rockies were 43-37 and sat four games back of the first-place Padres. In third place in the National League West, Colorado trailed the Dodgers by half a game.
Through 81 games last year, the Rockies were 42-39, in third place in the division and 9 1/2 games back of the Dodgers.
Going into the third game of the series against San Francisco, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez led the team in homers (13), RBIs (48), runs (48) and stolen bases (12). Saturday's starter Ubaldo Jimenez led the club in wins (14) and ERA (1.83).
Thomas Harding is a reporter and Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.