DENVER — Garrett Hampson was going about his normal Sunday morning pregame routine when Rockies’ third base coach Stu Cole approached him.
Cole wanted Hampson to take infield practice on the field, even though players don’t normally do that before a day game. But Cole didn’t want Hampson to line up at second or shortstop, his usual positions. Instead, he placed him at third, a spot he has never played at any level of baseball.
A few hours later, to his surprise, Hampson entered the game at third to replace Rio Ruiz.
“I think it's fun,” Hampson said on Tuesday after taking grounders at third. “I'm having fun so far.”
Hampson, a shortstop growing up, started playing second base and center field in Triple-A as a way to get to the big leagues faster. He thinks he could also figure out right or left field in a pinch if needed. But adding third base gives him another weapon in his arsenal, and another opportunity to get in the lineup.
“We are trying to expose him to a lot of different perspectives,” manager Bud Black said. “Anytime a player can show versatility, I think it’s helpful. I think Garrett’s that type of player where we can move him around the diamond and have him feel comfortable.”
Brendan Rodgers plays second normally, but can also rotate to shortstop and will likely take over that spot from Trevor Story next season. Ryan McMahon has the starting third baseman spot locked down, but McMahon also fits in, possibly even better, at second. He could find himself switching to that side of the diamond permanently in the future.
If those changes happen, the Rockies will be in need of a go-to guy at third. With Joshua Fuentes optioned to Triple-A last week, Ruiz is the only other player on the active roster with experience there. If Hampson can nail down third, he could find himself starting more often.
Hampson said the adjustment to that corner has been pretty easy, and that he’s been asking McMahon and Cole plenty of questions as he gets acquainted with the new spot. The biggest thing he’s learned is that balls come at him faster, so he has to react quicker. He still thinks shortstop is his best position, but added that third feels pretty similar to him.
Senzatela back with the Rockies
Antonio Senzatela was back at Coors Field with the Rockies on Tuesday, but has not been activated yet. It was his first time with the team since before the All-Star break, as he was one of six players and coaches added to the COVID list on July 16.
Senzatela threw 40 pitches in four innings of a rehab game in the Arizona Complex League last weekend, and added 20 more in a bullpen session immediately after. He’s ready to go, he said, and could be starting on Thursday, when the Rockies have a TBA starter listed for the last game against the Cubs.
Prospects on the move
Michael Toglia, the Rockies No. 3 prospect, was promoted to Double-A. He had 17 home runs and 66 RBIs in his time in High-A, more RBIs than any other player at that level. Toglia played in the Futures Game at Coors Field last month, where he hit one deep for his first Coors Field homer.
Shortstop Ezequiel Tovar, No. 19, and Grant Lavigne, No. 12, were both promoted to High-A.