Rockies Give Paulsen Extended Look





SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—First baseman Ben Paulsen, surprised he lasted as long as he did in his first major league camp, finally was reassigned less than two weeks before Opening Day.

Paulsen, 23, who has yet to play at the Double-A level, received the inevitable news he was going to minor league spring training in a meeting with manager Jim Tracy, assistant general manager Bill Geivett and third-base coach Rich Dauer, who instructs the Rockies' infielders.

"It was a good meeting," Paulsen said. "It was encouraging. I went into the meeting feeling good, and I came out feeling even better, knowing what those guys told me."

Major league spring training was huge for the lefthanded-hitting Paulsen, whom the Rockies drafted in the third round out of Clemson in 2009. In 17 Cactus League games, Paulsen hit .458/.536/.917 with four triples, one homer and 11 RBIs in 24 at-bats.

"I think you're always surprised when a young guy comes out of the Cal League, goes into big league camp and pretty much dominates the games that he was involved in," Geivett said. "But at the same time, we wouldn't have brought him in if we didn't think he could perform in spring training. It's hard not to be impressed with how he carried himself and how he did."

At high Class A Modesto last year, Paulsen hit .311/.353/.474 with 12 homers and 83 RBIs in 498 at-bats. The raw power he mostly showed in batting practice last year was evident in games this spring.

Paulsen reported to camp at 222 pounds. He came in last year at 214 but quickly dropped to 205. At Modesto, Geivett said Paulsen had "almost more of a contact-like approach, especially on balls out over the plate."

This spring, Paulsen had a different approach.

"He definitely is looking to drive the ball more," Geivett said. "He's stronger and quicker and can get to those pitches a lot easier."

ROCKY ROADS

• Outfielder Charlie Blackmon hit .314/.400/.486 in 19 Cactus League games with one homer, six RBIs and the same number of walks (five) as strikeouts in 35 at-bats before being reassigned to minor league camp.

• Lefthander Rex Brothers was vying to open the season in the majors by making six straight scoreless appearances with two walks and eight strikeouts in six Cactus League innings.