02/26/2013 7:53 PM ET
CarGo picks up first hits of Spring Training
By Owen Perkins / Special to MLB.com
MESA, Ariz. -- Making his third start in four Cactus League games, Carlos Gonzalez finally found his first hit, driving a single to left in his first at-bat against the Cubs on Tuesday.
With the World Baseball Classic around the corner, Gonzalez didn't stop there. His competitive nature is ramped up, and he kept punishing Cubs pitchers. He also doubled to right-center, walked, stole a base and scored a run.
"For me, it doesn't matter if I'm playing in the World Series, or Spring Training," Gonzalez said. "I still want to do well. I still get mad if I don't play the way I want to. The good thing is, Spring Training is for getting ready. It always feels good to have a good game and make good contact."
The steal wasn't exactly picture-perfect, but it was emblematic of his no-holds barred approach to pacing a Rockies club that could stand to be more aggressive on the bases.
"I was in a crazy position, because he was like 1-and-2 to the plate, but I still have to try some stuff," Gonzalez said. "If I got thrown out, I was going to be mad.
"It's part of my game," he said of his ability to cause havoc on the bases. "I try to work hard every day to get better in every aspect. It feels good."
LeMahieu triples Tuesday against Cubs
MESA, Ariz. -- There have been games this spring when the Rockies hit a lot -- they've scored 20 runs in their two wins and eight in their two losses. But DJ LeMahieu still contributed in Tuesday's loss to the Cubs, putting his plate adjustments to impactful use in a game.
LeMahieu hit .297 in 81 games in 2012, and he made a mark as a guy who could hit to the opposite field. In the eighth inning Tuesday, the right-handed hitter drove a ball into left-center for a triple, and later scored to bring the Rockies within two.
"He's really an inside-out guy that's trying to learn how to pull the ball a little better," hitting coach Dante Bichette said. "He's doing it in BP, and today it showed up [in the game]."
Bichette and manager Walt Weiss agree that LeMahieu's opposite field hitting is intentional. "It's not that he can't get there, it's on purpose," Bichette said, "and he is becoming a better hitter by spending time this spring practicing to pull the inside pitches."
"I've seen it even in BP where he'll juice some balls on the inner half," Weiss said. "His money swing is that inside-out swing to the big part of the field in the off-gap. But he controls the barrel very well. We don't want to put him in a situation where we say you need to turn on the ball. That's not who he is. But I think he's getting a feel for being able to do that."
Troy Tulowitzki will take the trip to Peoria, Ariz., with the Rockies on Wednesday to play his third game of the season. He's been playing every other day with good success as he returns from last season's groin injury, and manager Walt Weiss is being careful about the pace he puts Tulo through.
"We'll keep communicating," Weiss said. "It's been one on, one off. We'll pick our spot where he wants to go back-to-back. We'll figure out when that is."
• Weiss indicated Todd Helton would likely make his first appearance in the Cactus League in the "vicinity" of next weekend.
• Starting pitcher Christian Friedrich made his big league debut in 2012 and went 5-8 with a 6.70 ERA before landing on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his lower back. He threw a bullpen on Monday and it went well enough that he is scheduled to throw another one on Wednesday.
"I heard it went very well," Weiss said of his 25-pitch session. "I imagine he'll throw [live batting practice and] some simulated games before we throw him out there [in a game]."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.