For Rockies fans, the wait is over...sort of.
On Thursday the Rockies open Cactus League play on the road, about five miles down the road, at the spring home of the Diamondbacks, Tucson Electric Park.
The most exciting part of Spring Training is when pitchers and catchers report. Then, when the games start. Games are fun because Rockies fans get a taste of actual hitting and pitching, rather than the standard stories about who is in shape and who is not in shape that are common in the early weeks of spring.
Spring Training does just enough to whet the appetite of fans and make them long for the end of spring and the beginning of the real baseball season.
For the Rockies, Jason Hammel, who had a breakout season in 2009, will start the day on the mound. Most likely he will go two innings, maybe three depending on pitch count. Teams slowly stretch out their starters, so it will not be until late in March when the starters will be on the mound for more than three or four innings.
Games are also a good opportunity to get some of the position battles underway. Usually the Rockies have a few of those, but barring injuries, the 25-man roster is pretty much set.
Look for Eric Young Jr. to make a push to slip onto the roster. The Rockies are still high on him, but they do not want him to regress by sitting on the bench in the big leagues rather than playing everyday in Colorado Springs.
Melvin Mora was signed as a utility player off of the bench, but with Clint Barmes' late season hitting woes, the Rockies are interested in letting Mora prove that he should be the everyday starter at second base.
Regardless, the beginning of Spring Training games should give Rockies fans just enough to get them through the final month before the beginning of the real season.
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