Morales also wants to return to the starter role he had until 2009, when former Rockies manager Jim Tracy moved him to the bullpen and even made him the closer as the team secured its most recent playoff berth.
Morales has just 25 starts in 195 big league appearances. The most in a season was nine for the Red Sox in 2012. But this spring, with Rockies pitchers and catcher beginning workouts at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, he'll be part of a crew trying to unseat No. 5 starter Juan Nicasio.
"I know what I can do, and right now, I have my confidence back," Morales said. "What I need to do is make my pitches and throw the ball down and see what happens."
Morales told his agent, Fernando Cuza, that his goal to pitch in a rotation hadn't changed.
"I wanted to be a starter again, because now I have more pitches and I have more confidence in myself," said Morales, who avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $1,725,000 contract with the Rockies and is eligible for free agency after the season.
Morales pitched for Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League, mostly as a starter, and believes his power is back after all the injuries of last season. He also comes back to the Rockies a better pitcher.
"I can appreciate things more," he said. "I throw more strikes now. When you first come up, you try to do too much. Now I just try to trust my stuff and throw strikes, and I've learned to pitch."
The Bucs have six established starters vying for five spots, as well as a top bullpen that returns intact. Yet, both starters and relievers may have to protect their jobs from Pimentel, someone the Pittsburgh staff loves and who is out of options.
"So we know what's at stake there," Hurdle said following Sunday's workout. "He's a very exciting young man to watch. We like his makeup and his skills. And what we were able to get from him last year."
Pimentel, 24, was part of the four-player package general manager Neal Huntington acquired from Boston last winter in the Joel Hanrahan deal. As a September callup, Pimentel allowed two earned runs in five relief appearances covering 9 1/3 innings, with nine strikeouts and a pair of walks. Before that, in a combined 27 starts at Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, he'd fashioned a 3.35 ERA.
The Bucs will primarily consider him for a Jeanmar Gomez-like role, a long reliever able to make spot starts. In the long-term, though, Hurdle said, "We still envision him as a starter."
"He will have every opportunity to break [camp] with the big club," Hurdle stressed.
This irritates me more than it should. Probably because I always liked Bailey more than I should. And he stayed with the team all season.soxhop411 said:
timdierkes @timdierkes 52s
Yankees close to signing Andrew Bailey.
I've always liked the guy, too, maybe because of his attitude and accountability. Plus he's a pretty good pitcher when healthy. Granted, he hasn't been healthy much, but it worries me that he finally will be for the mfyBob Montgomery's Helmet Hat said:This irritates me more than it should. Probably because I always liked Bailey more than I should. And he stayed with the team all season.
Warthen suggested that they make a few modifications to Matsuzaka’s mechanics.
He agreed, and after a few bullpen sessions, the results were clear: He was starting to look more like his old self, the pitcher who came to Boston from Japan in 2007, the one the Red Sox had paid more than $100 million for.
Warthen had suggested that Matsuzaka lock his right foot snug against the rubber and keep his right leg straight as he raised his left leg during his windup.
That way, Matsuzaka could increase torque and really push off the rubber and pitch downhill. His foot had been sliding and his leg had been crooked. Now he felt more balanced. He had better control. He seemed to be throwing harder, too.
And his breaking balls had a sharper bite. Warthen had Matsuzaka throw his slider more on the seams, to take some spin off it and make it tighter, and had him hold his curveball deeper in his hand, so that it would not float high in the zone.
Warthen also had Matsuzaka, never speedy between his pitches, cut down on wasted time while he was on the mound. Matsuzaka was taking about 24 seconds between pitches — which seemed like an eternity, given how poorly he had been pitching — and he cut it to 12 seconds.
The work paid off. In his final four starts of the season, Matsuzaka went 3-0 and posted a 1.37 earned run average after going 0-3 with a 10.95 E.R.A. in his first three starts with the Mets.
Matsuzaka was taking about 24 seconds between pitches — which seemed like an eternity, given how poorly he had been pitching — and he cut it to 12 seconds.
I don't think you can use the 60 day DL until the last couple weeks of spring training.mabrowndog said:
With RHSP Steven Wright having gone under the knife for a hernia last month, shelving him until May or later, putting him on the 60-day DL would open up a 40-man spot and allow a waiver claim.
I thought it might be early, too, but it looks like the Rangers had already put Derek Holland on the 60 day DL to add a waiver claim IF a few days earlier.I don't think you can use the 60 day DL until the last couple weeks of spring training.
Spud said:Sports On Earth has a great article about Iggy. Seems like everybody in Boston and Detroit loves him. Hope he learns to hit.
This is a really heartwarming piece. I continue to miss Iggy. If only they'd wanted Middlebrooks instead.. . . .
When Pedroia's name comes up, Iglesias' body language softens, and his face glows like he just made another preposterous play on defense. "The only word I can say is, I love him," he says.
They are two classic archetypes, Pedroia the scrappy veteran and Iglesias the eager youngster. Iglesias attended his first Red Sox spring training in 2010, and Pedroia liked him instantly. Pedroia often invited Iglesias over for dinner, and Iglesias devoured the wisdom that Pedroia served. Pedroia taught him the subtleties of the game and tried to get him to stop showing off in practice so much.
"He'd say, 'Hey, you either do this right, or I'll send you back to Cuba on the banana boat,'" Iglesias says, laughing. "Just screaming every day, because I catch it with one hand, flip it with my glove. And now I understand why he say that, because it's true."
Iglesias spent the offseason between the 2012 and 2013 seasons working out with Pedroia at his home in Arizona, and class was in session virtually every day. Iglesias changed his stance, got stronger and had the best offensive season of his American baseball career. "I'm just blessed to get those advice early on," Iglesias says. "It's still my time to learn from my teammates, but it's my time to help young people as well, like my age, who hasn't had a chance to be right next to Pedroia, for me to be that Pedroia for them."
All of us who watched yesterday's gave vs. the Cards would have traded WMB for a bucket of balls. I hope he gets better, but it was UG LY.Adrian's Dome said:
They still would've traded Iggy. Because he's a worse player.
Because any one individual game is more important than years worth of data.InsideTheParker said:All of us who watched yesterday's gave vs. the Cards would have traded WMB for a bucket of balls. I hope he gets better, but it was UG LY.
You like offense, I like defense. Let's call the whole thing off.Adrian's Dome said:Because any one individual game is more important than years worth of data.
Iglesias can't hit. No pair of rose-colored glasses is going to change that.
InsideTheParker said:All of us who watched yesterday's gave vs. the Cards would have traded WMB for a bucket of balls. I hope he gets better, but it was UG LY.
InsideTheParker said:You like offense, I like defense. Let's call the whole thing off.
I really can't wait for this to be wrong.
Adrian's Dome said:There's a whole lot of evidence showing that you're going to be waiting for a LONG time. Perhaps until he joins a slow-pitch beer league.
The minor league numbers! Dammnit Jim! Have you seen the minor league numbers! They tell the future! Things won't ever change!
It's such a dumb argument. Is it valid? Sure. Is it an absolute? Nope.
You obviously don't have much of an eye. You decided--based on stats--that Iglesias can't hit and you're sticking to it, despite any evidence to the contrary.Adrian's Dome said:
It's both dumb and valid. Got it. The thing is, the minor league numbers are pretty much, you know, everything we've got to work with, and they're not good. So, what makes more sense, looking at a pretty big statistical sample size and coming to a reasonable and logical conclusion based on it, or just...sitting back and hoping the dude pulls a complete 180 out of nowhere?
I will never understand the pro-Iglesias crowd. Do you guys forever cherish your Rey Ordonez rookie cards?
teddywingman said:You obviously don't have much of an eye. You decided--based on stats--that Iglesias can't hit and you're sticking to it, despite any evidence to the contrary.
Well first I'd like to state that he's probably not a .300 hitter, despite the fact that he just hit .303 (.349 OBP) over the course of his first MLB season as a regular. I never really saw him play in the minors, so I can't speak to his craptastic numbers down there.Smiling Joe Hesketh said:
Where's the evidence that he CAN hit? This entire argument is because he had 1/2 of a good season with the stick for the Red Sox in 2013: 330/376/409 in 63 games and 234 PA. He never hit before that, in either the majors or the minors, and once he got to Detroit he put up a 259/306/348 for them, good for a whopping 77 OPS+.
In the minors in 2012 he put up a 634 OPS.
In the minors in 2013 over 133 PA he put up a 581 OPS.
And once he was traded his offense went way, way down for the Tigers.
Where is the evidence to the contrary here? The eye-test? The 1/2 season with the Sox in 2013?
teddywingman said:Well first I'd like to state that he's probably not a .300 hitter, despite the fact that he just hit .303 (.349 OBP) over the course of his first MLB season as a regular. I never really saw him play in the minors, so I can't speak to his craptastic numbers down there.
Iglesias has a couple things working for him that will make him a decent hitter--more than acceptable when coupled with the level of defense he will provide at shortstop. One is that he's incredibly fast out of the box. Until injury or age slow him down, he's going to be picking up infield hits on a regular basis. The other thing he has going for him is once-in-a-generation type hand-eye coordination. The level of talent he possesses will allow him to become a decent hitter, despite the fact that it obviously doesn't come natural to him.
So, yes. It's mostly the eye-test. But I'll bet anything he hit's over .250 this coming season, and I'd take that every time.
So he's not better than he was when he was 22 and younger? Do you see something about him that makes you think he won't improve?Smiling Joe Hesketh said:
1) Why did you need to see him play in the minors before trusting his awful numbers down there? That makes no sense to me. That's what he did. There's no reason to dismiss the numbers just because we didn't witness them being put up. Frankly they were so awful I'm glad I didn't see the sausage being made.
2) Hitting over .250 isn't the question here. OBP is the question. His has always been bad because he doesn't walk much. Once he got to Detroit, his OBP crated down to .300 or so. That's not good enough. So was he helped by Fenway then?
3) His hand-eye coordination has not, so far, been an asset for him in being a good hitter. Maybe that will change, but the vast majority of what he's done so far indicates he's not going to be a good hitter.
teddywingman said:So he's not better than he was when he was 22 and younger? Do you see something about him that makes you think he won't improve?
Of course, the reality is he's not a sub. He's an everyday starter and he's going to stick.Adrian's Dome said:Plus, his .303 BA and .349 OBP for last year was fueled mostly by a ridiculously unsustainable BABIP from the first half of the season in Boston.
Iglesias is the ideal supersub. He'd make a fantastic bench player to sub at short, 2nd, occasionally 3rd, come in a defensive replacement, and pinch run. If you're relying on him as a starter where his bat becomes a regular factor, that's a problem.
Do you trade a supersub for Jake Peavy? Every single time.
Adrian's Dome said:
If he continues to hit like he has his entire career, he won't be for long. Why is this so difficult?
teddywingman said:Of course, the reality is he's not a sub. He's an everyday starter and he's going to stick.