Harwell has a place in Rockies history
Late Tigers broadcaster narrated DVD of Colorado's 2007 run
SAN DIEGO -- Word of Tuesday's death of legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell, the longtime voice of the Tigers, resonated with the Colorado Rockies. His voice is forever a part of club history.
In 2007, the Rockies won 14 of their final 15 regular-season games and 21-of-22 overall before losing to the Red Sox in the World Series. FSN Rocky Mountain and the club wanted to commemorate the run with a special show. The result, "21 Days," a must-have DVD for Rockies fans, was narrated by Harwell.
Then-Rockies manager Clint Hurdle had spent part of his youth in the Detroit area and was quite familiar with Harwell. But how would FSN and the Rockies convince a broadcasting legend to lend his voice to the much-younger franchise's story?
Turns out all the Rockies had to do was ask.
"We were visibly excited that this great story that we got to tell, with all the marvelous pictures that we had and great sound bites from the players and people involved and people who covered it -- we now had this legendary voice narrating it," said Rockies television play-by-play voice Drew Goodman. "That, to me, put it over the top. It just told you what kind of person he was, also. Obviously, he's a Detroit guy, not a Colorado guy, and he agreed to do it without equivocation."
Hawpe, Hammel set for rehab assignments
DENVER -- Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe, who has been on the disabled list since April 25 with a left quadriceps strain, will begin a rehab assignment at Class A Modesto on Thursday and could be activated for Monday's home game against the Phillies.
In addition, right-hander Jason Hammel, who suffered a right groin strain on April 26, will throw in a rehab start for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday and might not have to make a second rehab start.
Manager Jim Tracy said head athletic trainer Keith Dugger told him after Hawpe's running session on Tuesday that he was running "better than he did at any point during Spring Training, and I was extremely encouraged by that."
After playing at Modesto, Hawpe will serve as designated hitter for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday at Sacramento and will play right field on Saturday. He'll return to Denver for an evaluation.
Right-handed reliever Taylor Buchholz (recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery) will pitch the first inning of Modesto's game on Wednesday, and right-hander Greg Reynolds (bone chip in right elbow) will start Friday for Modesto.
Closer Huston Street (shoulder tightness) will pitch in an extended spring game against the D-backs on Friday.
In the only negative piece of injury news, infielder Omar Quintanilla, who had been out with a left MCL sprain, hit two doubles for Colorado Springs in his season debut on Monday, but he suffered a calf strain later in the game. There was no word on the extent of the injury.
Time off worked out for Beimel
SAN DIEGO -- Rockies left-hander Joe Beimel continues to demonstrate that six weeks of Spring Training is overrated.
Beimel, who didn't sign with the Rockies until March 23, has a 1.04 ERA in nine appearances, and he has not given up a run in his past eight appearances.
While he was waiting to sign, Beimel worked out with players at South Torrance High School in Redondo Beach, Calif. During that time, he regained the slider that eluded him last season. Beimel went 1-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 71 appearances with the Nationals and Rockies last year, but knew he could do better.
"Obviously, I had a lot of time to throw," Beimel said. "While guys were pitching in games every day, I was still throwing in the bullpen. I think it worked out in my favor. I could throw a bullpen every day. I didn't have the pressure of going out and performing in the game.
"I realized last year the slider had gotten away from me. It had become a traditional curveball -- real slow -- and I just didn't like it or feel comfortable throwing it."
The Rockies had Beimel stay in extended spring camp for a few days, then had him pitch for Triple-A Colorado Springs before calling him up on April 16. Beimel gave up a home run to the Braves' Chipper Jones in his season debut, but since then, he has been exactly what the Rockies' bullpen needed.
By being able to pitch to both sides of the plate with his fastball, changeup and slider, Beimel is able to stay in games even when the opposition splits left-handed batters or uses right-handed pinch-hitters.
"His suntan isn't as good as it would have been if he had been in Spring Training with us the entire time, but he's throwing the ball -- any of his pitches you'd like to discuss -- better than he did at any time after we acquired him last year," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
Colorado Springs woman chosen as honorary bat girl
SAN DIEGO -- Julie Rife of Colorado Springs was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 at age 37. She is a longtime survivor and three-year participant and member of a top fundraising team in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Colorado Springs.
The Rockies have honored her as their honorary bat girl for 2010. Around baseball, each home team will recognize an honorary bat girl, in appreciation of her inspiration in coping with breast cancer and commitment to the cause. Teams that are on the road, as the Rockies will be on Sunday, have chosen another date. The Rockies will honor Rife on May 10, when they play the Phillies at Coors Field.
Since February, fans from across the country have been sharing their stories of inspiration and hope, and how they are supporting the fight against breast cancer. Nearly 1,000 testimonials were submitted by both women and men, by survivors, advocates and supporters.
Rife's testimonial read, in part:
"I watched the 2004 Denver Race for the Cure thinking I want to be that survivor with five pink ribbons on her hat, each marking a year of survival. Although it seemed inconceivable in 2004, on an unforgettable Sunday morning last September, I stood hand in hand with pink-clad teammates, tears running down my cheeks, watching a majestic sunrise at the Garden of the Gods with five pink ribbons on my hat. I have walked in the Springs RFTC for three years as a member of a top fundraising team. Through Komen, everyday people can make a difference by raising awareness and funds so that our daughters will not have to face this opponent."
An All-Star cast served as judges, including Maria Menounos of "Access Hollywood," Komen founder and CEO Nancy Brinker, All-Star pitchers Brian Wilson, CC Sabathia, John Lackey and Jake Peavy and MLB Network's Trenni Kusnierek and Mitch Williams. Also, more than 4 million fans voted on MLB.com.
Each honorary bat girl will take part in pregame activities, be honored during an on-field ceremony, and receive pink MLB merchandise and two tickets to her club's Mother's Day celebration game or another home game in May.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.