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KLEE: Rockies secret formula, so far, is better health

By: Paul Klee
May 7, 2013 Updated: May 7, 2013 at 9:40 pm

DENVER - In awesome blue shorts and a Tennessee-orange golf shirt, Peyton Manning led his Broncos on a field trip Tuesday.

Peyton gathered his football buddies - Champ, Wesley, Von, Ben Garland, all the big names - for a ballgame at Coors Field.

The Broncos even took a bus, just like the eighth grade. Next stop, Elitch's?

This was more than team bonding; this was a chance to see the big, bad Yankees.

One problem: These Yankees brought pinstripes you never forget and a lineup you'll never remember. These Yankees are Robinson Cano and the backups of their backups.

'It's still the Yankees, ' manager and former Rockie Joe Girardi said in the dugout before Colorado schooled New York, 2-0.

The Yankees are still depleted. Their roster is an egg carton with holes in the bottom.

Considering the Yankees' injury troubles, it seems a good time to broach a peculiar subject: Why are the Rockies good?

The correct answer might be the simplest one: The Rockies got healthy.

Injured shortstop Troy Tulowitzki held an impromptu press conference in the Rockies dugout. His message was short and sweet and summed up Colorado's surprising start: 'I feel good. '

And that's coming from a guy who didn't play in the series opener due to injury. Tulo has a strained groin and could return his hot bat to the lineup as soon as Wednesday.

See, even when these Rockies get injured, so far, the injury is nothing to fret over.

'I'm happy today, actually, ' Tulo said.

He wasn't happy (or healthy) a year ago. Almost no one at Coors Field was happy (or healthy) a year ago. Not with Tulo, Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer, Todd Helton, Juan Nicasio, Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa - anyone else? Dinger? - battling one ailment or another.

Injuries are one way to finish with a franchise-record 98 losses.

Getting healthy, that's one way to start 19-13 overall and 11-8 vs. the NL West.

In The Gazette on Feb. 27, I wondered aloud if the Rockies' awful season in 2012 was simply a result of their rosterwide injury problems. I wondered if the Rockies could just get healthy, we would see what this roster is really made of.

'If we all stay healthy, we will compete, ' CarGo promised me at spring training.

Will the Rockies hold up to this fast start over the 162-game season?

Maybe this is the better question: Will their bodies hold up over the 162-game season?

The Yankees arrived at Coors Field, for the first time since 2007, with 10 players on the disabled list. Their lineup should include Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. Instead, someone named Ben Francisco often bats fifth.

The Yankees' healthy star is Cano. He's played more games as a Yankee than the other 12 position players on the active roster - combined.

The Rockies have none of their regulars on the DL, knock on Helton's bat.

Sometimes we look for the complicated answer to the easiest question. Maybe the Rockies are good simply because the Rockies are healthy.

'He's as strong as he's ever been, ' head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said of Tulo.

On Tuesday, the Broncos came to see the Yankees. The football players arrived in time to watch the Yankees take batting practice and pose for a field-trip photo on the infield grass.

If the Rockies stay strong, and healthy, perhaps next time the home team will be the draw.


(Paul Klee is the Denver sports columnist for The Gazette. Reach him via email ( or on Twitter (@Klee_Gazette).

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