Looking for intrigue at Rockies spring training? Look to first base. When position players gather for their first official workout Monday at Salt River Fields, the question about who will man the position remains unanswered. The issue became even more cloudy Sunday when veteran Ian Desmond spoke about the upcoming season. “Honestly, I haven’t really been focusing a lot on first base,” Desmond said after arriving at camp and taking his physical. “I have spent a lot of time in left field, just getting my legs ready to play out there. I will be ready to play first base if they need me to, but right now, from what I understand, it’s going to be mostly left field.” That means rookie Ryan McMahon, 23, is the clear front-runner for the job as camp opens. However, McMahon has not been told much by manager Bud Black. “I have no idea what’s happening, but I’m sure I’ll find out,” McMahon said Sunday. “I expect to bounce around at first, second and third base. So I haven’t heard anything definitive. Buddy only told me to brush up on my bunt plays at all three positions.” McMahon played in only 17 games (batting 3-for-19) after making his big-league debut Aug. 12, but he crushed Triple-A pitching, hitting .374 with 39 extra base hits, including 14 homers, in 70 games. Last year, at Double-A and Triple-A combined, McMahon split time between first base (61 games), second (36) and third (26). Earlier this winter, general manager Jeff Bridich said: “Does he have the tools and the talent to be thought of as our starting first baseman? I think so.” Another option at first, in a part-time role, is utility man Pat Valaika, who started one game there last season. He has been preparing for multiple roles.
The Rockies have a clear front-runner to play first base, and it’s not Ian Desmond
Denver Post | Feb 20