Rockies send five to Minors
Top-pick Nelson among players trimmed from big league camp
TUCSON, Ariz. -- A day after sending some of their top pitching prospects to Minor League camp, the Rockies sent some of their promising position players down, including outfielder Dexter Fowler and shortstop Chris Nelson, their No. 1 pick in 2004.
The Rockies also sent down infielder Christian Colonel, outfielder Joe Gaetti and catcher Neil Wilson. Players sent down during Spring Training often are invited to participate in Major League games, but the main goal is to have them participate in Minor League game action, which begins Thursday.
Fowler, 23, hit .286 (4-for-14) with a double and two runs scored in 10 games in center field. The Rockies drafted Fowler in the 14th round in 2004. But he lasted that long in the Draft -- and signed a big bonus -- because teams feared he'd spurn baseball for a basketball scholarship. The Rockies have commented on his athletic tools and expect him to develop some muscle on a 6-foot-4 frame that carries just 170 pounds.
Nelson, 22, played six games, including two starts, and went 2-for-5 at the plate. Although Troy Tulowitzki signed a six-year contract after a strong rookie year in 2007, the Rockies are keeping Nelson at shortstop for now because it's his best position, but they see athletic ability that can be used at other spots.
Gaetti, 26, went 2-for-9 with an RBI. He played at Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs last year, and provides outfield depth.
Colonel, 26, played in six games in first base, third base and left field, and went 2-for-8 this spring. Colonel hit .309 last year, his second full year at Double-A Tulsa.
Wilson, 24, made three appearances at catcher and was hitless in three at-bats. He walked and scored during an exhibition game against the Mexican National Team, and is on the Rockies' radar after overcoming injuries that slowed the early portion of his career.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.