SCOTTSDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 23: Carlos Gonzalez #5 of the Colorado Rockies bats during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on February 23, 2013 at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Rockies defeated the Diamondbacks 11-2. (Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Spring training is technically just a warm up session before the grind of a 162-game season. For the Rockies and new manager Walt Weiss, these exhibition games will be an extended version of what is to come.
Colorado is holding nothing back from the opening pitch.
"You can't play careful here. We're going to try to get our guys to let it fly," said Weiss, who is making his major league debut as manager Saturday. "Why wouldn't we? Why would we keep a leash on these guys? We want them to go out there and do their thing."
The Rockies scored 11 runs on 18 hits in their opener at Salt River Field at Talking Stick to beat the Diamondbacks.
They 're coming off their worst year in franchise history, losing 98 games, due in large part to the injuries of a few marquee players. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki played only 47 games a year ago (went 1-for-2 with an RBI), pitcher Jorge De La Rosa only made three starts, and first baseman Todd Helton missed nearly 100 games.
With a healthy and youthful squad Colorado is planning on earning the respect of the league back.
"I think our guys look around the room and see how talented we are. That should give them that sense of security in our ability to win games," Weiss said. "We got some ground to cover. They know that we are capable of covering that ground. It's a matter of going out there and doing it."
Their style of play will benefit from the types of players in their lineup.
Speedsters Dexter Fowler and Eric Young Jr., who combined for 26 stolen bases last season at the top of the lineup, will set the offense in motion. The likes of Carlos Gonzalez and Tulowitzki will follow and be the dynamic pieces to score runs.
Veterans, like Helton and Michael Cuddyer, along with the young group, Wilin Rosario, Josh Rutledge and Tyler Colvin are in place to contribute in certain spots. Colorado will be punctual at the plate, being the instigators of their at-bats.
Weiss said that the scoreboard will dictate some strategy, but it should not hold them back from being a bold ball club. "We are going to push the tempo," he said.
The Rockies will be unleashed offensively by Weiss, starting now.
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