2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Sky Sox manager, coaches, trainer return

    Mon, January 27, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    t551_main_logoFrom a press release …

    The Colorado Springs Sky Sox announced their coaching staff for the 2014 campaign and the faces will be very familiar to Sky Sox fans as the entire 2013 staff returns to Security Service Field. Manager Glenallen Hill returns for his second season after taking over for Stu Cole in 2013. He’ll be joined by returning hitting coach Dave Hajek, pitching coach Dave Schuler, medical trainer Heath Townsend and physical performance coach Mike Jasperson.

    Hill enters his second season as manager after guiding the Sky Sox to a 67-76 record in his first season at the helm. Before skippering the Sky Sox, Hill served the previous six seasons as a big league coach with the Rockies. This will be his tenth season overall as a member of the Rockies organization as he also previously served as a hitting coach for the Rockies High-A affiliate Modesto Nuts from 2004-06.Hill also served as the Modesto manager for the last three months of the 2006 season when former skipper Chad Krueter was named head coach at USC. Hill took over as manager of the Nuts on June 9, 2006, guiding the club to a 36-45 mark the rest of the way.

    On the field, Hill’s playing career concluded in 2001 after nearly 19 seasons, including 13 in the majors. Originally drafted by the Blue Jays in the ninth round of the 1983 June draft, Hill went on to see Major League time with the Blue Jays (1989-91), Indians (1991-93), Cubs (1993-94), Giants (1995-97), Mariners (1998), Yankees (2000), and Angels (2001). He complied a .271 lifetime average with 186 home runs and 586 RBI in 1,162 games and won a World Series title with the Yankees in 2000. Hill was also considered one of the game’s top pinch hitters, as he possessed a .287 lifetime average in the pinch with 13 home runs.

    Shuler, who has spent 39 years in baseball including 26 as a coach, will begin his second season as the Sky Sox pitching coach after spending the previous two seasons as the pitching coach at Double-A Tulsa. Prior to that, Schuler spent the 2010 season as Single-A Asheville’s pitching coach following 2009 with Tri-City in the same role. His previous coaching duties came with Baltimore from 2000-04, where he was the pitching coach for the Delmarva Shorebirds and Bowie Baysox. He also coached in the Giants organization in 1996 at Single-A San Jose and in the Yankees organization from 1989 to 1995 making stops in Single-A Prince William, Double-A Albany and Triple-A Columbus. Schuler’s coaching career began in 1984 as pitching coach at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. A former Major League pitcher, Schuler pitched parts of three seasons with California (1979-80) and Atlanta (1985) going 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 18 games.

    Hajek begins his 11th year in the Rockies organization and his second as hitting coach for the Sky Sox. He was promoted to his current role after spending the past four seasons as a roving infield coordinator (2012) and the hitting coach for Double-A Tulsa (2008-11). Prior to Tulsa, Hajek served as hitting coach for Modesto (2006-07) and Asheville (2004-05). A former second baseman, Hajek retired after the 1999 season following a 10-year professional career in which he compiled a .301 Minor League average with 43 homers and 526 RBI. In that 1999 season, Hajek played for the Sky Sox and hit .295 with eight home runs and 58 RBI. He had a brief stint in the Major Leagues with the Astros, playing in five games in 1995 and eight games in 1996. Hajek hit .250 in those 13 big league contests. Hajek is a resident of Colorado Springs.

    Townsend, a resident of McCalla, AL, returns for his ninth season as the Sky Sox medical trainer. A graduate of the University of West Alabama, this will be Heath’s 13th season in the Rockies organization. In 2010, he was named the Pacific Coast League Trainer of the Year marking the second time in his career he has won the designation. He was also named the South Atlantic League Trainer of the Year in 2001 while with the Asheville Tourists. With nine seasons as a member of the Sky Sox staff, Townsend is the longest tenured staff member in franchise history (2006-14).

    Jasperson returns for his second season as the Sky Sox physical performance coach. The Salt Lake City native has been with the Rockies organization for five seasons and has been steadily moving up the ranks throughout his career. He started his Rockies career with the Rookie Level Casper Ghosts in the Pioneer League and then moved up a level each year after with stops in Asheville and Tulsa. Jasperson also has personal ties to Colorado as he graduated from Colorado State University-Pueblo with a degree in Exercise Science.

    Below is a complete list of the Rockies organizational staff with the changes for 2014 in bold. For those who have changed positions, the title he held last year is beside his name in parentheses.


    Director of Pitching Operations – Mark Wiley

    Head Pitching Coordinator – Doug Linton

    Assistant Pitching Coordinator – Bob Apodaca

    Catching Coordinator – Mark Strittmatter

    Offensive Coordinator – Jerry Weinstein (Major League Coach)

    Latin America Field Coordinator – Edison Lora

    Head Rehabilitation Coordinator – Scott Murayama

    Assistant Rehabilitation Coordinator – Andy Stover

    Physical Performance Coordinator – Gabe Bauer

    Cultural Education Coordinator – Josh Rosenthal

    Cultural Education Teacher, Dominican Republic – Angel Amparo

    Peak Performance Coordinator – Andy McKay

    Video Coordinator – Scott Alves

    Equipment Coordinator – Jerry Bass

    COLORADO SPRINGS SKY SOX (AAA)                                    TULSA DRILLERS (AA)

    TBD – Supervisor                                                                      Ron Gideon – Supervisor (Tri-City Supervisor)

    Glenallen Hill – Manager                                                             Kevin Riggs – Manager

    Dave Schuler – Pitching Coach                                                  Darryl Scott – Pitching Coach

    Dave Hajek – Hitting Coach                                                       Darin Everson – Hitting Coach

    Heath Townsend – Medical Trainer                                              Chris Dovey – Medical Trainer  

    Mike Jasperson – Physical Performance Coach                          Brian Buck – Physical Performance Coach


    MODESTO NUTS (A+)                                                               ASHEVILLE TOURISTS (A)

    Fred Nelson – Supervisor                                                          Marv Foley – Supervisor

    Don Sneddon – Manager                                                          Fred Ocasio – Manager

    Dave Burba – Pitching Coach                                                    Mark Brewer – Pitching Coach

    Jon Stone – Hitting Coach                                                         Mike Devereaux – Hitting Coach

    Josh Guterman – Medical Trainer                                                Billy Whitehead – Medical Trainer


    TRI-CITY DUST DEVILS (SS-A)                                                GRAND JUNCTION ROCKIES (R)

    Duane Espy – Supervisor (Tulsa Supervisor)                                    Tony Diaz – Supervisor

    Drew Saylor – Manager                                                              Anthony Sanders – Manager

    Frank Gonzales – Pitching Coach                                               Ryan Kibler – Pitching Coach

    Warren Schaeffer – Hitting Coach                                               Lee Stevens – Hitting Coach

    Casey Papas – Medical Trainer                                                  John Duff – Medical Trainer



    Mauricio Gonzalez – Manager

    Edison Lora – Pitching Coach

    Eugenio Jose – Hitting Coach

    Florentino Nunez – Coach

    Andri Guevara – Medical Trainer

  • Rockies avoid arbitration with three

    Fri, January 17, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    rockies logoThe Rockies announced today that the club has avoided arbitration with right-handed pitchers Wilton Lopez and Juan Nicasio and outfielder Drew Stubbs, by agreeing to one-year contracts. Terms of the deals were not disclosed, per club policy.

    Lopez, 30, led the Rockies in appearances in 2013. The Nicaragua native went 3-4 with a 4.06 ERA (75.1 ip, 34 er), 18 walks and 48 strikeouts in his 75 games. He spent his first four major-league seasons with Houston (2009-2012) before the Rockies acquired him on December 4, 2012 in exchange for right-handed pitchers Alex White and Alex Gillingham. The 6-foot right-hander owns a career mark of 16-17 with 11 saves and a 3.37 ERA (299.0 ip, 112 er) in 288 career MLB games.

    Nicasio, 27, was a member of the Rockies starting rotation for the majority of the season in 2013, posting a 9-9 record with a 5.14 ERA (157.2 ip, 90 er). Nicasio set career-highs in wins, starts (31), innings pitched and strikeouts (119) during the 2013 season.

    The native of the Dominican Republic owns a career mark of 15-16 with a 4.92 ERA (287.1 ip, 157 er), 104 walks and 231 strikeouts. Nicasio has spent his entire professional career with the Rockies organization. He originally signed with Colorado as a non-drafted free agent on August 21, 2006.

    Stubbs, was acquired by Colorado from Cleveland in exchange for left-handed pitcher Josh Outman on December 18, 2013. In his only season in Cleveland, Stubbs hit .233 (100-for-430) with 21 doubles, 2 triples, 10 home runs, 45 RBI, 59 runs and 18 steals. In parts of five MLB seasons with Cincinnati (2009-2012) and Cleveland, the Atlanta, Texas native owns a career batting line of .239 (531-for-2221) average, 80 doubles, 14 triples, 69 home runs, 223 RBI, 344 runs and 127 steals.

    The Rockies currently have a full 40-man roster.

  • Rockies add backup catcher McKenry

    Fri, January 17, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    michael-mckenry-baseball-headshot-photoThe Rockies announced that the club has agreed to a minor-league contract with catcher Michael McKenry. The deal includes an invitation to spring training. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, per club policy.

    McKenry, 28, was originally selected by Colorado in Round 7 of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. He has spent each of the last three seasons (since 2011) in the Majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates and has appeared in the majors in each season since 2010 with Colorado (2010) and Pittsburgh (2011-13).

    In 193 career MLB games, the Knoxville, Tenn. native has hit .223 (121-for-543) with 32 doubles, 17 home runs and 64 RBI. McKenry set career-highs in games (88), doubles (14), home runs (12) and RBI (39) for the Pirates in 2012.

    The Rockies have a full 40-man roster.

  • Rockies sign left-hander Franklin Morales

    Thu, January 16, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    200px-20110928-0572_Franklin_MoralesThe Rockies announced that the club avoided arbitration with left-handed pitcher Franklin Morales by agreeing to a one-year contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, per club policy.

    Morales, 27, returned to the organization that originally signed him as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2002 when the Rockies acquired him along with RHP Chris Martin from Boston in exchange for Jonathan Herrera on December 18, 2013.

    From 2007-2011 in a Rockies uniform, Morales went 7-11 with a 4.83 ERA (147.1 ip, 79 er) in 102 games/15 starts.

    Morales spent the last two-plus seasons in Boston (2011-13), during which time he went 6-7 with a 3.90 ERA (134.0 ip, 58 er) in 93 games/10 starts. In 2013, Morales went 2-2 with a 4.62 ERA (25.1 ip, 13 er) in 20 games/one start as a member of the World Champion Red Sox.

    Overall, the left-hander is 13-18 with 11 saves and a 4.38 ERA (281.1 ip, 137 er) in 195 games/25 starts between the Rockies and Red Sox. Morales has held left-handed hitters to a .194 (65-for-335) average in his career.

    The Rockies now has a full 40-man roster.