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Rockies Go For Dirt Bag

June 7, 2005
By Barney Hutchinson

DENVER--The foundation for drafting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki began construction two days before the draft.

The Rockies explored the signing demands of Tennessee righthander Luke Hochevar Sunday and determined the former Fowler High product in southeastern Colorado, represented by Scott Boras, would be to high, long and involved.

That and a shift up the draft list by Southern California catcher Jeff Clement opened the door for the Rockies to take a shortstop in the first round (seventh overall) for the second consecutive draft. The Rockies picked Chris Nelson out of Redan High in Stone Mountain, Ga., with the ninth overall selection in last year.

"Shortstop is definitely where I want to be," Tulowitzki said."My life revolves around baseball, but my main goal is to get to the majors. Third, second, whatever it takes, I'm willing to do it."

Tulowitzki, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder out of Long Beach State, is considered closer to the majors than Nelson, but a position switch by one of the middle infielders could be made.

"This is a dream of mine and there is no better place than Colorado," Tulowitzki said. "It's an awesome feeling. I think the day I was born my parents put a bat and a ball in the crib. I guess you could say, yeah, I'm was a baseball rat right off the bat."

The Rockies had to hold their breath through the first six picks of the draft, waiting to make sure Tulowitzki would be available. The shortstop was among the top three players on the board of four of the six teams that picked before them.

When all six teams did not name Tulowitzki, the Rockies made him their third position player taken in the first round in the last three drafts.

"I grew up an A's fan, and the shortstop at the time was Walt Weiss," Tulowitzki said of the former Rockies shortstop and now a special assistant to general manager Dan O'Dowd. "But I paid attention to all the shortstops. Oakland's shortstop now, Bobby (Crosby--also a Dirtbag alum), is a good friend of mind."

Tulowitzki, 20, could give the Rockies a polished middle infielder with 20-25 home run potential. He hit .349-8-29 through 39 games for the 49ers, playing his home games in a pitcher's paradise at Blair Field.

Now he goes to a hitter's haven in Coors Field. "I guess the baseball gods are working in mysterious ways," he said.

ROCKY ROADS

Daniel Carte, an outfielder from Winthrop taken in the second round, had a strong showing in the Cape Cod League last summer. In making the Cape's all-star team, Carte hit .308-11-38 in 159 at-bats for Falmouth, leading the league in home runs (11), RBIs (38) and slugging percentage (.560). Carte won the league's MVP award. The Hurricane, W.Va., high product became the sixth player in Cape Cod League history to reach double figures in both home runs and steals (13).

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