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Best guess: Nix at second, Morales fourth starter
by Patrick Saunders on March 15, 2008
Surprise, Ariz. –
It’s cloak and dagger time in the desert.
With the regular-season opener just 16 days away, the Rockies have still not made it clear who will be their starting second baseman, or their fourth or fifth starter. Don’t even ask about the bullpen. That’s a pretty murky place right now.
Don’t get me wrong. I think both Dan O’Dowd and Clint Hurdle know how things will shake out, they just aren’t telling us.
Given that, here’s my attempt to answer some of the pressing questions of spring training:
Although I think Jeff Baker deserves to start at second, my guess is that Jayson Nix, the former first-round pick, will be there on opening day. Baker and Clint Barmes will get playing time at second, too, but I think Hurdle loves Nix defense too much to sit him. Plus, Nix is out of options and the Rockies want to give him a real shot to succeed or fail.
Unless he blows up again like he did Friday against Seattle, Franklin Morales will be the fourth starter. The Rockies fell in love with him last fall during the stretch run to the World Series and are willing to live with his growing pains.
With Jason Hirsh sidelined with a strained right shoulder, the fifth starter spot truly is wide open. The next two starts by Kip Wells, Josh Towers and Mark Redman will determine who wins the job. If I had to take a guess, I think Towers or Redman gets the job and Wells ends up in the pen. I think Wells’ tedious pace on the mound hampers the defense behind him. That could be a factor.
We’ll see how it all shakes out.
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