Rockies' Gomez Still Trying To Match Performance To Tools





DENVER—After seven professional seasons, potential still trumps performance with Rockies shortstop Hector Gomez.

"He has shown that when he's on the field and playing, he's a good player," farm director Jeff Bridich said. "Right now, that's really the rub; he needs to figure out a way to stay on the field."

Gomez, 23, has had a myriad of injuries, including a stress fracture in his left shin, Tommy John surgery, a groin strain, a stress fracture in his back and lower back soreness that troubled him last season at Double-A Tulsa.

Gomez hit .235/.272/.416 with 16 stolen bases, 14 homers and 50 RBIs. His 102 games and 453 plate appearances were the second-most in his career, exceeded only by 124 games and 576 plate appearances at low Class A Asheville in 2007, before injuries set in.

"It's tough to get a full-season's read on him, but obviously the tools are still there, the talent is there," Bridich said. "We have to get to a point where we can start finishing off his tools and really he can have some mastery of his talent. He really doesn't have that right now."

Gomez, who has one option remaining, has never played at Triple-A but played briefly with the Rockies last September. Needing infield reinforcements, they recalled Gomez a week after Tulsa's season ended. He played in two games (one start) but then was scratched from two starts due to back pain and never played the rest of the season.

"There's speed, there's power, there's a terrific throwing arm," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "There's physical characteristics to like. Putting it all together and doing it on a regular basis day-in and day-out over five and a half to six months, that's something that we're still in search of."

ROCKY ROADS

• The Rockies signed Robert Perkins, an athletic 17-year-old catcher from Australia. He will stay there to participate in the Major League Baseball Australian academy this summer and graduate from high school in November, then will join the Rockies' pre-spring training program in the Dominican early next year.

• Righthander Connor Graham, a 26-year-old traded to the Indians for Rafael Betancourt in July 2009, returned to the organization. He went 3-6, 3.43 in 43 games at Double-A Akron in 2010 but didn't pitch last year because of a shoulder injury and was released in July.