The resulting laceration on his right hand required 16 stitches and landed Tulowitzki on the DL for the second time that season. This year, Hurdle says, it's Tulo's chance to apply what he took from that experience and become
"The most valuable lesson he learned last year is that leadership isn't negotiable," Hurdle says of his 24-year-old shortstop. "I really think it helped him grow up and understand what leadership is truly about at this level. Not only are your skills under the microscope every single day, your character is also under the microscope."
For his part, Tulowitzki acknowledges that he made mistakes in '08 and says he's happy and eager to accept the burden of leading the team at such a young age. Jokes his manager, "There comes a time when you throw your kid the car keys and say, 'Take me for a ride.' You just cover your eyes while they're driving."
Jimenez is the No. 2 starter behind
The 23-year-old Gonzalez, one of the players Colorado received in the Holliday trade, has some nifty pop with his bat and has a great arm in the outfield. In a five-man battle for the starting left-field position, Gonzalez's lack of plate discipline may be working against him most. "It's a matter of how much he learned from first 300 to 400 plate appearances," O'Dowd says. "His strikes-to-walks [ratio] is not something he can survive."
Just ask any of the Rockies beat reporters, most of whom have been targeted by Helton's playful slaps and general teasing. "If he does that, it means he likes you," says one longtime
"He won't be like
Never mind the fact that Gonzalez,
If that fleet-footed, slick-fielding dude at second looks familiar to Rockies fans, he should: That's
Are those two-hour drives up and down Interstate 10 soon to be a thing of the past? The city of Tucson is showing little interest in approving $10 to $20 million in public funds to upgrade dilapidated Hi Corbett Field. That might make both the Rockies and Diamondbacks -- the only two clubs who still train here -- flee north. The teams are exploring building and sharing a new facility by 2011 in Goodyear; that would bring all the teams in the Cactus League (15 by then, with Cincinnati joining next year) into the Phoenix area, at most an hour's drive from each other. ... Let's just say Helton isn't exactly a fan of nearly two months of spring training: "You need about a week as a hitter to get ready, maybe two if something goes wrong with your swing." ... Tulowitzki liked to keep fans on their toes last season with his choice of walk-up music at Coors Field, mixing it up with everything from