SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Brendon Rodgers has had to wait for an opening in the Colorado Rockies’ infield, just like Trevor Story did a few years ago.
Selected third overall in the 2015 amateur draft, Rodgers has hit .291 in four minor league seasons. The 22-year-old played at Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque last season and is at big league training camp for the second straight year.
“With Brendan, I think he’s confident to start with,” Rockies manager Bud Black said Monday. “He’s really confident in his abilities. He knows he’s a good player and he knows he’s talented. The way I see him move around the clubhouse and how he’s interacting with the coaches and the players, his personality is more at ease. I think he’s showing who he is.”
Story had to wait for Troy Tulowitzki’s departure, then enjoyed a breakout 2016 following the trade of the shortstop to Toronto and became a first-time All-Star last year. That is a path Rodgers is eager to emulate.
“He wants to get better, and he wants to learn new positions,” Story said. “That’s what I had to do when I was coming up. I tell him that. You never know what’s going to happen and you have to be ready. You’ve got to prepare in case something happens.”
Rodgers has played second, third and shortstop in the minor leagues.
“It gives players a better chance to play if they can do other things and it gives the team a great deal of flexibility every night, feeling comfortable making moves,” Black said.
Rogers has gone on to start at all three positions this spring training
“Overall, defensively, whether it’s short, second or third, I feel very comfortable at all three right now,” Rodgers said. “I’m getting a lot of looks at short, especially over in Mexico.”
Rodgers was part of the Rockies’ contingent that played two games in Monterrey, Mexico, last weekend against Arizona.
“It was awesome and a great experience,” Rodgers said. “The fans are loud and locked in. They all stayed until the last out.”
Rodgers is trying to make the most of any opportunity.
“I’ve noticed a much better pitch recognition, laying off breaking balls he might have swung at last spring,” Black said. “That’s a big test for Brendan, laying off that breaking ball out of the strike zone. This guy can hit a fastball and we know that. Big league pitchers, talented pitchers are going to try to expose a number of players to the breaking ball. Brendan, as a young player, realizes that.”
NOTES: Ian Desmond hit a three-run homer to right-center field. Most of his power is to center or the opposite field, and he doesn’t try to pull the ball. “I don’t really discriminate as long as it goes over the fence,” Desmond said. ... The Rockies trimmed their camp roster to 47. INF Josh Fuentes was among the players optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. He has not played because he’s still rehabbing from a broken hamate bone in his left hand. ... C Tony Wolters has been slowed by a stomach flu and an upper respiratory illness. ... The Rockies want to run, Black said, and Desmond spoke up during a recent team meeting on baserunning. “We want that mindset of being aggressive,” Black said. “Even if you get thrown out, there’s a feeling on the other side that the Rockies are always pressing and we have to be on our toes.” Said Desmond: “It’s nice to have the audience where people are accepting. I’m glad I felt comfortable enough with the group of guys we had in there and they were willing to listen.”
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