Here's the Story: Prospect eyes shortstop job

Booming solo shot, his third HR of spring, strengthens case

Here's the Story: Prospect eyes shortstop job

PHOENIX -- Trevor Story's sunglasses radiated his cool and hid the competitive fire still in his eyes after the Rockies' 7-6 loss to the Brewers on Saturday.

Story's massive, fourth-inning solo homer off Tyler Cravy on a two-RBI day was an example of the regular-season intensity he brings to the Cactus League, as he tries to begin his Major League career by earning the Rockies' Opening Day shortstop job. But Story's blinders were not so opaque that he couldn't acknowledge a special moment.

An enterprising group of fans, appearing to be a family, chased down the homer after it bounced off the batter's eye in center. They yelled to Story just before he disappeared into a tunnel that led to the team bus: "Can you sign your home run ball?"

Story stopped, savored and signed.

Then Story, 23, lobbed the ball back, and refocused his attention on showing that he can handle the task of becoming the true replacement for his onetime mentor, current Blue Jays star Troy Tulowitzki.

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"It's definitely an all-business approach, treating it just like the season," said Story, who added an RBI single Saturday and is hitting .294 with three home runs and seven RBIs in the Cactus League. "I came in here wanting to compete for the job. I didn't want to treat it as Spring Training or as something experimental."

Story's RBI single

Shortstop is open because veteran Jose Reyes, who came in the Tulowitzki trade, awaits resolution of an offseason domestic violence charge and, after that, a decision from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on a potentially lengthy suspension. But even without that, Story was going to be a factor in the Rockies' future. At some point, Story was primed to force the Rockies to find a way not to let the two-year, $48 million guarantee to Reyes block him. Story is just doing it now with a clear path.

"It's always good to produce at any level," said Story, who is ranked as the Rockies' No. 11 prospect by "It gives me a lot more confidence. It's too early to say, but I feel good about where I am."

Story has handled his 37 Spring Training innings at short with a cool that could make the decision stress-free for manager Walt Weiss. Cristhian Adames, 24, is the other shortstop hopeful. But he can move -- he's had 28 innings at short and 14 at second -- and that could be his ticket in a spring when he faces the fact he is out of Minor League options. Veteran Daniel Descalso makes the infield bench potentially crowded, but that's a small price to pay if Story continues to show he can be productive.

"The most important thing is he's in complete control of his game right now," Weiss said. "His at-bats are under control. When they hit the ball to him, it's very controlled. That's what you look for with young players."

Logan on the way

Elbow soreness has kept left-hander Boone Logan, who looks to be a lefty specialist, out of Cactus League play. But his arm rebounded from a 25-pitch bullpen session Saturday, and he believes he will be ready come Opening Day. Logan said he went too hard at the start of spring, but there is no structural problem with the elbow.

Weiss found Logan dependable against left-handed hitters late last season after he came off the disabled list. With Jake McGee having strong numbers against righty and lefty hitters, Logan could find himself in a specialist role. The role, however, could mean frequent appearances or at least warmups. Logan has struggled with health since having bone chips and a bone spur removed from the elbow in 2013, his final year with the Yankees.

"It's a fine line," Logan said. "It's fewer pitches in an outing, but then again you're up [in the bullpen] every day. I like that. I'd like to be able to be a guy that, when the phone rings, I can be up and within four or five pitches be ready to go. I can still do that."

Gurka racking up K's in roster bid

If an opening for a left-hander arises, non-roster lefty Jason Gurka is making his case. He struck out the side in the eighth, and has fanned the last seven batters faced to raise his total to 10 in four innings over four scoreless outings. Gurka appears to have made strides since posting a 9.39 ERA in nine games last season -- his only time in the Majors.

"We're seeing a pitcher with a lot more confidence than he had last year," Weiss said. "He knows he belongs, and he's just a lot more comfortable. He's on a nice little run."

Worth noting

• With Charlie Blackmon having Sunday off, Gerardo Parra took the leadoff spot and went 0-for-3 with a walk.

"We haven't talked about it; I just saw the lineup and did it," Parra said. "Charlie's the leadoff man, but if he's got a day [off], I'm happy to do it."

• Righty Jon Gray discussed putting away his curve, or at least not using it in a game unless he is "way ahead," after being burned for a first-inning double Sunday.

Weiss said: "It's more a matter of when to throw it. ... It's his fourth pitch."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.