February 27, 2013
PEORIA, Ariz. — All those trade rumors clouding up Dexter Fowler’s offseason?
He didn’t let the storm of speculation dampen his mood.
The 26-year-old centerfielder looked back on a breakout season in which he set career-highs in every number tied to a breakout season (hits, home runs, average, games, on and on).
Most important, the easygoing Southerner had a wedding to prepare for.
“It’s awesome,” the newlywed said of married life. “I have an awesome wife. She makes it easy.”
The leadoff man left the speculating to the rest of us and eventually agreed with the Rockies on a two-year contract reportedly worth $11.6 million.
That’s not to say Fowler ignored the incessant talk of a potential trade — however true those rumors may or may not have been.
"I understand it’s a business,” Fowler said in the Rockies clubhouse between Cactus League games. “The fortunate thing is that people want you. It means you’re going to have a job. There’s definitely worse places you can be.”
Hey, let’s be honest. A 26-year-old, gifted athlete set to make millions playing baseball probably should be an optimist.
Not all of them are. The optimistic perspective is that Fowler’s sunny disposition results in another step forward for the man at the top of the lineup.
“I really believe, if we’re healthy, people are going to be surprised at what we can do,” said Fowler, who went 1-for-3 with a double against the Padres on Wednesday.
Chase Headley rarely, if ever, had issues in school, graduating from Fountain-Fort Carson as the Valedictorian. He then studied sports medicine at Pacific before a transfer to Tennessee.
“I can’t say I studied a ton. But I was locked in when I was in class,” Headley said Wednesday at the Padres spring training complex. “I didn’t miss class all through high school or in college. I went to every class. I was taking notes. I was actively involved.”
Put the smart money on Headley to continue a career surge that put him fifth in MVP voting last season.
In his sixth season, Headley hit .286 and a career-high 31 home runs. He led the National League with 115 RBIs. Moving forward, his individual goal is to maintain that pace.
“My general goal is to be the type of player that I was on a more consistent basis,” said Headley, who went 1-for-3 against the Rockies. “Being the type of guy that is a middle-lineup guy who is going to produce a lot of runs every year. That’s the type of player I want to be.”
Dick Enberg, the Padres play-by-play man, spent Wednesday morning chatting up Headley in the team’s clubhouse. Enberg gave Headley a copy of his book, “Oh My!”
Out of necessity, the Rockies field staff is becoming more technologically inclined.
Hitting coach Dante Bichette and bench coach Tom Runnells regularly chat with faraway family through FaceTime, the iPhone or iPad app, or via Skype.
“Whenever I get a chance to FaceTime with my 12-year-old, it’s pretty cool,” said Runnells, whose family is in Ohio and California. “It’s like having her right there."
This is the other side of an otherwise glamourous profession — detachment from loved ones.
“In this kind of situation, when you’re away from home, it's a lifesaver,” said Bichette, who moved back to Denver from Orlando.
Colorado (3-2) beat San Diego 6-3 before a sparse crowd of 1,747 at Peoria Sports Complex on Wednesday. ... Jordan Pacheco, the former Lobo, went 2-for-3 with two RBI. ... The Rockies host the Reds at Salt River Fields at 1:10 p.m. Thursday.