Luis Gonzalez released along with Bellhorn, Ford and others
Infielders Luis Gonzalez and Mark Bellhorn and outfielder Lew Ford were among the players released from minor league camp this weekend. Gonzalez was trying to make a comeback with the Rockies, for whom he played in 2004-2006 before going to Japan, but didn’t report to camp in good shape and was at a disadvantage from the beginning. Like Gonzalez, Bellhorn and Ford have major league experience.
Other players released include OF Justin Nelson, IF Jeff Dragicevich, OF Travis Becktel, RHP Kenny Ray, who was signed out of the annual tryout camp in Tucson just before the start of minor league camp, and IF Tomas Perez, who wanted to start and opted to return to Venezuela rather than be a back-up player at Triple-A Colorado Springs. C Rick Guarno was also released rather than being sent to Double-A Tulsa for a third straight season.
The Rockies were going to send utility IF Nick Haley to high Class A Modesto, but Haley, who turns 25 on May 25, chose to retire rather than return to the Nuts for a third straight season.
RHP Kyle Hancock took the first step on his comeback by making it to extended spring training. He showed enough fastball command and ability to throw low strikes along with signs of a major league average curveball to warrant keeping. Hancock, 21, was drafted by the Rockies in the third round in 2005 out of Rowlett (Texas) High School, the 87th player taken overall. He turned down a scholarship from the University of Arkansas to sign with the Rockies, who gave him a $475,000 bonus.
Hancock forfeited that sum in short order when he left Rookie Casper after a brief stay with the club on a road trip. Because he remains Rockies property, Hancock came to minor league camp after petitioning the commissioner’s office to play.
Also staying in extended spring training is Scott Beerer, 26, who showed enough raw power in camp to merit more at-bats in the extended program while trying to make a comeback as a corner infielder-outfielder. Beerer, drafted in the second round out of Texas A&M in 2003, was a reliever in the Rockies’ system for four seasons, rising to high Class A Modesto.