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Rox prospects make impact in Futures Game

Rox prospects make impact in Futures Game

ANAHEIM -- Rockies hitting coach Don Baylor, managing the USA in Sunday afternoon's XM All-Star Futures Game, stopped before the game to say hello to one of his organization's prospects, catcher Wilin Rosario of the World team.

"We're going to pitch around you," Baylor said with a laugh.

It turned out the USA would give Rosario multiple opportunities. Rosario beat out a double-play attempt for a second-inning RBI and threw out two runners -- one trying to steal second in the third inning, another on a pickoff at first base in the fourth.

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Rosario was one of two Rockies prospects to appear in the game -- a 9-1 USA victory. Left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich, pitching for the USA, faced one batter and coaxed a fly ball in the ninth inning.

"A lot of people know me more than before because of that game," Rosario said. "We lost, but I've got this experience for all of my life, something to have in my mind and my heart."

Rosario and Friedrich play for the Rockies' Double-A affiliate in Tulsa. Rosario, 21, is hitting .275 with 12 home runs -- fifth-most among Futures Game participants -- through 57 games at Tulsa. Friedrich, who turned 23 on Thursday and was the Rockies' No. 1 pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, struggled through an elbow ligament issue early in the year and is 2-5 with a 4.94 ERA through 13 starts.

"I feel happy that he made the USA team and I made the World team," Rosario said. "It's great when you see a friend of yours. The last two seasons, I played with him. I feel happy for him and he feels happy for me, too."

It was a hard route to the Futures Game for Friedrich after the early-season soreness in the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow.

"I was struggling through some things mechanically, then you add on a finger blister," Friedrich said. "I think I might have been trying to put less pressure on the fingers and I got pain near my elbow. I was back and forth.

"Finally, Bo McLaughlin [the Rockies' Minor League pitching instructor] and Bryan Harvey [the Tulsa pitching coach] were in town at the same time. I got to throw two bullpens before a start because one of them got rained out and it was pushed back. It helped. I feel confident in my last two outings, and I've done pretty well, a lot better than I have been."

It's unclear whether Rosario or Friedrich will have any impact on the Major League club, which heads into the All-Star break second in the National League West, two games behind the Padres. Both are at positions of depth. The Rockies tend to hang onto their prospects, but teams could request them should the club look to make a move.

Several current Rockies, such as All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and pitchers Aaron Cook and Jeff Francis, made their big league debuts the same year they appeared in the Futures Game. Others made theirs later.

"I have a chance to make it, but I don't know when," Rosario said. "You never know what's going to happen, but the only thing you can control is the way you play the game."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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