If Wilin Rosario was still disappointed to have been sent down to Triple-A, he is not letting it show now that he is in an Albuquerque Isotopes uniform. The Colorado Rockies demoted Rosario on April 22, though not because anything he was or was not doing.
“I’ve just come down because they needed my spot for a pitcher because the last two weeks the pitching was getting crushed,” Rosario said. “In that way I get more of an opportunity to play first base. Hopefully I’ll get to come back (to Colorado) soon.”
Rosario was the Rockies’ starting catcher from 2012 to 2014, showing casing a powerful bat (.275/.308/.486, 66 HR). Defense, however, was a problem, as most advanced metrics rated him near the bottom of the league.
Colorado signed veteran Nick Hundley to a two-year contract during the offseason, at which point it was widely assumed Rosario would be traded. The Rockies, however, opted to keep Rosario and transition him into a super-sub at catcher, first base and the outfield corners.
In the first 10 games of the season, Rosario got just 14 at-bats, recording five hits including a home run. It was far from an ideal situation.
“If you don’t play every day, you’re not going to be that good of a hitter,” said Rosario, who is 3-for-8 in three games. “You’re going to strike out a lot. You’ve got to get a lot of base hits. You’ve got to be in a lot of different situations.”
Rosario never played in the outfield before being sent down, and the plan now that he is an Isotope is to play first base every day. That is just fine with Rosario.
“I’m trying to work on everything,” Rosario said. “Groundballs, pick(offs), knowing all the players, trying to see which hitter is going to do what. Trying to see when guys are going to run, working with the pitcher.
“I think first base is like another catcher. … You have to get a lot of information on the other teams.”
Rosario said he played first base growing up, but as he got older he stayed behind the plate. It was not an easy position to play back then and it still is not easy now.
“It’s not that easy when you’re a kid and now you’re playing grown man baseball, so things come really fast,” “It’s not a safe position, it’s a dangerous position. Everybody says (it’s easy). If one of those big left-handed hitters hits one right at you, what are you going to do?”
It also does not hurt Rosario’s comfort level that he knows many of the players currently on the Isotopes. Eight of them played with him at some point in Colorado last season.
“To be honest with you, I feel really comfortable,” Rosario said. “They’re all joking around, playing around, having fun. When you’re on a team like this, you can enjoy the moment, take it easy.”
This will only be the second time in Rosario’s career that he has appeared at Triple-A. He skipped the level en route to the Majors and only appeared in two games on a rehab assignment at Colorado Springs last year.
“I never really played in Triple-A before,” Rosario said. “It’s nice at this park, I like it, it feels really comfortable.”
Rosario and the Isotopes will open a four-game series with the Salt Lake Bees (Angels) on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. He will bat third and start at first base.