Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content All-Star game nice for Sky Sox's Wheeler, big leagues are better

By Joe Paisley Published: July 15, 2013

Another trip to the Triple-A All-Star Game is fine, but Sky Sox third baseman Ryan Wheeler would much rather be working at Coors Field.

"I would trade my place with the guys up there in a heartbeat," Wheeler said recently. "But, by being an All-Star, you know you're doing your best to get there (the Rockies)."

The Colorado Springs infielder garnered the honor for the second year in row. He made it as a player for the Reno Aces last season. His old ballpark is the site for Wednesday's 6:05 p.m. showcase featuring standouts from the Pacific Coast League and the International League.

"I thought it would be cool to make it again in Reno," he said. "Of course, I expected it to be at home."

Wheeler, 24, was traded from the Arizona organization to Colorado on Nov. 20, 2012 for reliever Matt Reynolds and was in the running to become the Rockies' third baseman before the rapid rise of touted draft pick Nolan Arenado.

Wheeler played 50 games with Arizona in 2012 (.239, homer, triple, six doubles, 11 runs, 10 RBIs) and had 93 hits in 90 games for Reno.

Earlier this season, Wheeler played in six games as a reserve with the Rockies and went 1-for-9 with a double.

Now in his second season in Triple-A baseball, Wheeler is adjusting well to the tweaks pitchers made in their approach to the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder.

"Most guys have seen me 5-10 times now," Wheeler said. "So it has been a challenge to adjust to the adjustments they have made this season. Last year I sort of flew in under the radar."

Entering the break, he is batting .298 with a team-high 58 RBIs and 19 doubles in 82 games. The Torrance, Calif. native also has a knack for the clutch hit, batting .350 with runners in scoring position.

"He's been a very consistent hitter," manager Glenallen Hill said. "He is a respected hitter by his peers."

Making it again has a different feel, Wheeler said.

"By doing it once, you know you can do it," he said. "It is not as sweet as the first time."

Sky Sox players Corey Dickerson, Matt McBride and Drew Pomeranz all received enough votes to be named to the PCL team but were not eligible. Dickerson and Pomeranz were with the Rockies when the squads were determined. McBride remains on the disabled list (neck).

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