Tough to contain Arenado's athletic instincts

Tough to contain Arenado's athletic instincts

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It was must-see TV, a web gem, one of the catches of the year ... however you want to label it. Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado's amazing grab of a foul pop and subsequent crashing into the rolled-up tarp at AT&T Park in San Francisco last April 14 was a classic baseball conversation starter, and not just because of how good it was.

Arenado immediately understood the risks involved in turning his back to an obstacle and then hitting said obstacle.

"If I could do it again, I probably wouldn't go like that again," the National League Gold Glove Award winner said in a televised interview after the game. "I'll try to remind myself. ... It was scary. Thank God I didn't get hurt."

Arenado's amazing catch

He wasn't the only one who felt that way, but on May 25, he did it again, going after a foul pop, catching it and flipping over a short wall into the stands.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss was asked Wednesday morning if he expects Arenado to make an effort to limit the risk on similar plays to avoid injury.

"There's not much we can do about that," Weiss said. "When you're an athlete and the ball goes up and you feel like you have a shot to catch the ball, that's what you're going to do. It's not like you can tell him, 'Don't do that.'

Arenado's incredible catch

"After that play in San Francisco, we were all talking about how nervous we were that he got hurt, and I think a few weeks later, it wasn't the exact same play, but he went into the stands again. Even he said he didn't know if he would try to do that again, that [kind of] play he made in San Francisco. But a few weeks later, there was a ball in the stands, and he jumped in again. Not quite the same way, but as an athlete, you can't think about those things and you can't talk people out of those things."

The Butler did it
Eddie Butler made his third spring appearance and second start on Wednesday against the Giants, and the Rockies liked what they saw out of the young right-hander, who went 3-10 with a 5.90 ERA in 16 starts in 2015.

Butler turns 25 next week, and he needs to shine this spring if he's to make the five-man Rockies rotation when the club breaks camp. He took a step in the right direction in Wednesday's 8-6 win, firing three shutout innings against the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Butler gave up two hits and struck out one.

Butler strikes out Span

"My mindset's a lot better," Butler said. "It's something we've talked about with the coaching staff. ... We talked about keeping emotions under control and just attacking hitters. I think that's pretty much my main thing, attacking the hitters. A big downfall last year was just getting behind, walking too many guys, and letting them be able to dictate the at-bat.

"That's my big goal this year, to dictate to them what they're going to have to do, rather than the other way around."

Blackmon still blossoming
Charlie Blackmon didn't become a big league regular until 2014, when he was 27. But last year he continued to emerge as one the NL's most versatile outfielders. He went from 28 stolen bases to 43, and he also hit 17 homers.

"He works," Weiss said. "He works all the time. He spends his offseason trying to get better. He pays a lot of attention to working on his speed in the offseason, the way he trains, and once the season starts, he's working from the time he shows up until the time he leaves. He's doing something to get better in every aspect of his game. That's why you see him continue to get better.

"He goes above and beyond."

Worth noting
• Weiss said he is not looking for any separation yet between candidates in the ongoing battle for the starting shortstop position. Veteran Daniel Descalso, one of several options to start with Jose Reyes on paid leave, got the start Wednesday and went 2-for-3 with an RBI.

"That's something that we'll talk about as we get deeper into camp," Weiss said. "I'm not looking for guys to separate themselves in the first week of camp. It's an ongoing process and we'll wait until we have more information to make those types of decisions."

• Reliever Boone Logan, who hasn't appeared in a Spring Training game yet, threw a 26-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday. Weiss said the left-hander has had some general soreness the next day.

"He'll see some game action here pretty soon," Weiss said.

• Reliever Jairo Diaz will have Tommy John surgery March 18 in Denver, performed by Dr. Thomas Noonan.

Doug Miller is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.