Rockies manager: Bruce, Votto more than just hitters

By Hal McCoy

Staff Writer

Sunday, August 24, 2008

DENVER Colorado manager Clint Hurdle knows Joey Votto and Jay Bruce can hit he doesn't need to watch closely to see that Votto had six hits in the first four games against the Rockies this year.

Hurdle watches other aspects of a young player's game, and he scores both Votto and Bruce on a high scale.

"I like both," he said. "I've watched them more not swinging the bat.

When I like guys, I tend to watch more when they are not hitting. That's when they create separation from being a good hitter to a good player.

"There are always handfuls of guys who were born to hit and want to hit, but I like to watch their intensity on defense and what they do when they get on the bases," Hurdle added.

And how are they?

"They've been showing up very good in my eyes," he said. "Votto's splits of hitting right and left are better right now than Bruce's, but that takes time. Our Brad Hawpe was not good, and this year he has having a breakthrough year against left-handed pitchers.

"I notice both Votto and Bruce are aggressive hitters, look to be confident hitters and seem to enjoy what they are doing," Hurdle said. "They both have age on their side and skills. That's a great combination to have."

Delay on call-ups

Any September call-ups, when rosters can be expanded from 25 to 40, will be delayed by the Cincinnati Reds because Class AAA Louisville is in the International League playoffs and Reds manager Dusty Baker said, "That's a good delay for them, playing for something."

The call-up candidates on the 40-man roster when they are made: pitchers Homer Bailey and Todd Coffey, infielder Paul Janish and not much else because, as Baker said, "Most are already here."

Baker, though, believes call-ups should be a reward for those who have done well, whether on the roster or not, and singled out left-handed pitcher Adam Pettyjohn.

"He is one guy nobody has talked about he's a crafty lefty and is 14-5 this year," Baker said. "He won 15 last year (Actually, 16 at Class AAA Nashville, Tenn., and Class AA Huntsville, Ala.). I don't buy that about guys not having enough fastball. It's if they know how to win."

Is Frazier too big?

Baker was watching the Little League World Series on his office TV, and somebody commented on how big the Hawaiian pitcher was.

"You know, Todd Frazier (Class A Sarasota, Fla., shortstop) played on the Toms River, N.J., team that won the Little League World Series (1998)," Baker said. "He has 12 homers, but I'm thinking he might be too big (6-foot-3, 215 pounds to play shortstop.

"But then I see Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (6-3, 205) and, man, that whole Colorado infield is big," Baker said. "Maybe Frazier isn't too big."

Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart is 6-3, 205, second baseman Jeff Baker is 6-2, 210 and first baseman Garrett Atkins is 6-3, 215.

An added duty

Due to scheduling conflicts Friday, Aug. 23, there was no "official" official scorer at the Reds-Rockies game, so the duty was shared by the media relations directors, Rob Butcher of the Reds and Jay Alves of the Rockies.

They did well, making all the right calls, but one fan disagreed and yelled after they ruled a base hit on one play, "Hey, official scorer. That was an error."

Said Butcher, "Now I feel official."

Quote of the day

Jeremy Affeldt was looking at his National League Championship ring, presented to him by the Colorado Rockies Friday night (he was a member of the Rockies last year, a team that lost the World Series to the Boston Red Sox): "This is a loser's ring. But it's the nicest loser's ring I ever saw."