Before Injury, Rockies' Rosario Matured As Hitter





DENVER—The power surge began with a home run right before Wilin Rosario left for the Futures Game, a contest that also served as a confidence-builder as the Double-A Tulsa catcher showed off his impressive arm.

From there, Rosario proceeded to terrorize Texas League pitchers. He hit eight homers in seven games, going 10-for-31 with 15 RBIs and two strikeouts raising his numbers to .281/.332/.558 with 18 home runs in 242 at-bats.

But the progress came to a halt on Aug. 3, when Rosario's season ended after he suffered a sprain right knee while involved in a rundown play. Tulsa hitting coach Dave Hajek said Rosario, 21, had become much more adept at hitting breaking pitches and was just learning to slow the game down offensively.

"I think he's really using the whole field," Hajek said. "It may not show up in where he hits the ball, but his mindset seems to be hitting the ball in the right part of the field, and when he gets a pitch in, he's in good position to react and he's strong, he's quick. He's got a real advanced bat for his age . . . He's just growing up as a hitter."

Rosario has also cut his strikeouts to one every 4.8 at-bats, from one every 3.7 last year at high Class A Modesto.

"His even getting into two-strike counts are down because he's getting pitches early in counts and attacking them," Hajek said.

Rosario's offense is ahead of his defense, where he has the tools to be a good catcher. His willingness to work has improved this year.

Offensively, Rosario has made a quantum leap from 2009, when he hit .266/.297/.404 at Modesto with four homers in 203 at-bats before a wrist injury ended his season in late July. This year, Rosario has found a pregame routine that works—he follows it diligently and for the most part, carries it into games.

"Occasionally, we're down by one and it's late in the game and he still wants to get underneath the ball and lift it," Hajek said. "And he almost always fouls the ball off, misses it when he takes those overswings. But he's done a good job of correcting that on the next pitch or the next swing."

ROCKY ROADS

• Triple-A Colorado Springs righthander Samuel Deduno began a rehab assignment at short-season Tri-City after missing three months with a stress fracture in his right elbow.

• Righthander Jhoulys Chacin was optioned to Colorado Springs to work as a starter nearly three weeks after losing his spot in the Rockies rotation when lefthander Jorge De La Rosa was activated. In seven big league relief appearances, Chacin allowed eight runs in 102⁄3 innings, while striking out 15 and walking two.