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Choi confident he can hit lefties

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c/o Sun Sentinel


btw, Vlad Nunez got his ring.



Choi confident he can hit lefties


By Juan C. Rodriguez

Staff Writer

Posted April 27 2004


DENVER ? Manager Jack McKeon was noncommittal Monday about when he might give left-handed hitting Hee Seop Choi his first start against a left-hander.


With one exception, McKeon has started Choi against right-handers and Wil Cordero when lefties start. Hoping to keep Cordero in a groove, McKeon played Cordero with Braves righty John Thomson on the mound Sunday night. Before the game, he hinted Choi would likely face a lefty to balance the ledger.


That's fine with Choi, who is no less confident hitting lefties.


"In the minor leagues, I hit great, .300 against lefties," Choi said. "Last year in Chicago, [manager]Dusty [baker] played Eric Karros [against lefties] and righties he played me. I can hit left-handed pitchers.


"It's not easy against left-handers, but I feel comfortable. ... I hit better right-handers. Sometimes left-handers I hit good because I don't think right-left. I just think about the pitcher and the game, focus and concentrate, seeing the ball."


Choi is hitless with a strikeout in his two at-bats against left-handers this season. The strikeout came against Rheal Cormier last week in Philadelphia, where Choi also popped out against closer Billy Wagner.


All but six of his 23 career at-bats against lefties came last season, when he recorded his only hit.


Shawn Estes, tonight's Rockies starter, may not be the best lefty matchup for Choi. Through four starts, Estes has held left-handed hitters to a .167 average (4 for 24) with a .200 on-base percentage and three strikeouts.


"I haven't gotten that far yet," McKeon said, of whether he'll consider starting Choi tonight. "I was thinking Cordero was starting to hit the ball. We'll see how we do [Monday]."




Statistically, it doesn't appear Darren Oliver has any qualms about pitching at Coors Field. A member of the Rockies last season, Oliver had a better ERA at home (4.50) than on the road (5.45).


Tonight, Oliver returns to the mound from which he won seven of his team-high 13 games last season. Opponents hit 16 points high against Oliver at Coors Field (.293) than everywhere else, but he allowed fewer RBI per nine innings (4.5) at home than on the road (5.0).


"I just had fun with it," Oliver said. "Somebody's got to pitch here. If it happened to be me, you had to deal with it. If you had a bad attitude about it, it's going to be worse."


Oliver credited his 2003 home-field advantage in part to outfielders Preston Wilson and Admin Walker, who he said, "caught everything." He couldn't pinpoint many other reasons.


Before joining the Rockies last season, Oliver was an unspectacular 1-0 with a 5.79 ERA in 231/3 innings at Coors Field.


"If I had the answer I'd sell it," Oliver said. "We always said just try to pitch better than the other guy."




The Marlins, Minnesota Timberwolves and San Jose Sharks shared the same downtown Denver hotel Sunday night. Monday, the Sharks and Colorado Avalanche played Game 3 of their NHL West semifinal series. Tonight, the Nuggets host Game 4 of their NBA Western Conference quarterfinal series.


T-Wolves All-Star Kevin Garnett was among those admiring Lenny Harris' World Series ring Monday afternoon. Harris and guard Sam Cassell became friends when they played for the Brewers and Bucks, respectively, in Milwaukee.


"I said, `This is what you guys have to play for,'" said Harris, who did not let Garnett slip it on. "You have to earn one of these. I wish them all the luck in the world, but I still have to pull for the Heat."


A big basketball fan, Juan Pierre also got a thrill from meeting Cassell and some other players, saying: "They knew who I was, which blew my mind." ...


The Marlins presented Rockies right-hander and former Marlin Vladimir Nunez with his World Series ring before Monday's game. The only ex-Marlins who have yet to receive their jewelry are Mark Redman and Juan Encarnacion.


Juan C. Rodriguez can be reached at [email protected].

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DENVER -- Former Marlins relief pitcher Vladimir Nunez, now with the Rockies, received his World Series ring before Monday's game.


"I feel good that I got the ring, but really, really in my heart, it doesn't feel great because I wasn't there at the end,'' said Nunez, who was demoted to Class AAA after starting the 2003 season 0-3 with a 16.03 ERA.


"I was my house in Little Havana, 15 minutes from the ballpark. I didn't go (to any of the games). When they were in the World Series, I was watching the games on TV with kids asking questions about why we don't go to the ballpark anymore. Even members of my family were asking, 'What's going on? Why not there and see you on TV?' It's tough to explain.''


Nothing personal Vladdy, just business.


hey, consider it thanks for your work in 2001 & 2002. *shrug*

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