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Notes: No room for Quintanilla

Notes: No room for Quintanilla

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- If infielder Omar Quintanilla had been 25 years old in the 1970s, he'd have long hair and be wearing tight-fitting, baby-blue, double-knit uniform pants with the cuff just below his knees to show off a pair of high stirrup socks.

He'd also, most likely, have a big-league job. But this is now. The Rockies sent the slick-fielding Quintanilla to Triple-A Colorado Springs, one of five cuts on announced Friday.

But Quintanilla is getting with the new millennium, and he could still help the Rockies this season. Before the cuts were announced, Quintanilla went 2-for-4 to bring his Spring Training batting average to .333. His fielding continues to dazzle. Manager Clint Hurdle likes what he sees, despite the infield crowd.

"Sometimes, if there's no room, there's no room," said Hurdle, who likes Quintanilla's work at shortstop and second base and wants to see him at third. "You'd like to carry more than 25 players, but you've got to be realistic about what you have.

"Defensively, he can play with anybody, but he's growing as a hitter. You want to make sure you're keeping him sharp and keep him advancing."

The switch-hitting Quintanilla has grown by shrinking his swing. He batted .219 in late 2005, and .176 in an 11-game trial last season before he fouled a pitch off his right shin in July.

Quintanilla went home to El Paso with instructions from new hitting coach Alan Cockrell, who also worked with him at Colorado Springs, where he batted .276 in 82 games.

"I came here ready to go, and 'Ace' [Cockrell] has been helping me a lot," Quintanilla said. "I'm just going out there having fun, not worrying too much about it. I know we've got a lot of good infielders. This game is funny, because anything can happen."

Other cuts: The Rockies also optioned right-handed relievers Denny Bautista and Ryan Speier, and catcher Alvin Colina to Colorado Springs, and right-handed reliever Darren Clarke to Double-A Tulsa.

Bautista (0-1, 4.15 ERA in five games) and Speier (1-0, 1 save, 4.50) were candidates to make the big club but faced an uphill battle against mostly experienced pitchers. Bautista was obtained from the Royals with lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt for first baseman Ryan Shealy last season. Speier pitched for the Rockies as a rookie in 2005 but missed 2006 with a torn labrum.

Putting an inconsistent foot forward: On Friday, right-hander Byung-Hyun Kim displayed the inconsistency that has made him trade bait rather than a solid member of the rotation. Against the Giants, he gave up eight runs in 4 2/3 innings, including a six-run second.

Afterward, the Rockies weren't that down on him. Hurdle called the three-run triple to Omar Vizquel "a good pitch -- he's working on some things, some things he did OK, some things he wasn't real crisp on."

Kim gave up two home runs, one by Randy Winn to lead off the first, another on a high fastball that Barry Bonds skied to right-center in the second.

Kim said that he had a difficult time with his slider, and knows "the season is coming close, so I have to throw more simple."

Catcher Yorvit Torrealba believes Kim may have hit on something.

"I think sometimes he's thinking a little bit too much," Torrealba said. "I think he's got a really good game plan. It's just [that] sometimes he is not sure what he should throw.

"We'll talk before the game and say, 'We're going to throw a lot of sliders,' or whatever. Then sometimes he goes out there second-guessing."

On the Rox: Right-hander Josh Fogg, trying to hold a spot in the rotation, pitched five innings for Double-A Tulsa against Colorado Springs at Hi Corbett Field on Friday. He gave up three hits, including a home run, and two earned runs. He struck out six and walked one. ... Non-roster invitee Matt Herges continued his bid by retiring all four batters he faced on Friday, one on a strikeout. The right-handed reliever has dealt with two baserunners in his five appearances, all of them scoreless. ... Lefty Mike Gallo, a non-roster invitee challenging Tom Martin for a job, gave up a seventh-inning home run to Tomas De La Rosa but no other hits in his inning.

Left-handed-hitting John Mabry, in line for a backup job, went 1-for-3 with a home run to right-center off Steve Kline. ... Rockies assistant general manager Bill Geivett and the Yucatan Leones club of the Mexican League were scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss left-hander Oscar Rivera. Under the terms of the agreement between the clubs, the Rockies can purchase Rivera for $1.3 million. Jeff Bridich, the Rockies' director of baseball operations, said that Colorado doesn't don't have to make a final decision until the end of Spring Training.

"We've had eyes on him, but we're still trying to get to know the kid right now," Bridich said. "We'll make a decision at the end of camp, because that's when we make all our decisions. We made one on [catcher] Javy Lopez [who was released this week] early to give him time to find another team during Spring Training, but we like to let camp play out."

Up next: Right-hander Aaron Cook will start against the Giants at Hi Corbett Field on Saturday. Game time is 2:05 p.m. MT.

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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{"content":["spring_training" ] }
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