Let's Get Physical: Cargo Return Near

SCOTTSDALE – While waiting for Carlos Gonzalez to pass his physical and officially sign the contract that will bring him back to the Rockies for another year, the Rockies began the roster housecleaning of spring on Saturday, sending seven players to their minor-league camp.

The move leaves 50 players on the spring roster – including 14 non-roster player but not including Gonzalez, who is expected to officially sign the one-year, $8 million contract that he agreed to in the midst of what has been a slow-moving off-season for free agents.

The Rockies and Gonzalez have declined comment pending the finalization of the contract.

The idea of Gonzalez’s return has been a highlight for the veteran players, who look at Gonzalez as a central figure in the clubhouse as well as an impact player on the field.

And while Gonzalez hit .262 with 14 home runs and 57 RBI for the least productive of the seven seasons in which he has played at least 100 big-league games, he did provide a major offensive boost during a September in which the Rockies were battling to claim the second wild-card spot.

He led the team that month with a .377 average, 12 doubles, a .760 slugging percentage and .484 on-base percentage, and tied with Charlie Blackmon for the team lead in runs produced with 32. Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story both had 30 runs produced.

A tribute to Gonzalez is that despite his own struggles in light of the fact he turned down a four-year extension last spring and was struggling in the season, he remained a positive and strong clubhouse influence, not only for the young players from Latin America but all of his teammates.

While waiting on Gonzalez becoming a participant in the spring drills, seven players who had been in camp made the move to the minor-league clubhouse so they can start to get into routine with the minor league affiliates they will play for to open the season.

Manager Bud Black said he was impressed with all seven, but they aren’t in serious consideration for the big-league roster so they are better off being in the minor league camp, which will allow them more playing time.

The moves

Right-hander pitchers (3): Zach Jemiola*, Peter Lambert, Jesus Tinoco*

Catchers (2): Dom Nuñez, Chris Rabago*

Outfielders (2): Yonathan Daza*, Sam Hilliard

* 40-man roster player optioned

Tracy RingolsbyComment