Rockies send Ian Stewart back down to make room for Ty Wigginton


Six at-bats later, he’s gone.

Ian Stewart was demoted back to Triple-A Colorado Springs for the second time this year Friday, opening up a spot for the returning Ty Wigginton.

Manager Jim Tracy said after last Sunday’s game that Stewart was “either going to play his way in or play his way off the team.”

Stewart, though, was given just six more at-bats afterwards.  Granted, he was 0-for-6 in that span, leaving him with a ridiculous .064 average in 47 at-bats.  Still, if the idea was to challenge Stewart, maybe he deserved more than two games, with all of his at-bats coming in front of the pitcher, to respond?

One wonders if Stewart has now made his last out for the Rockies.  While he put up solid overall numbers in his first 2 1/2 seasons (he hit .246/.334/.458 with 53 homers and 172 RBI in 1,077 at-bats from 2008-10), he failed to meet the team’s high expectations offensively or defensively.

Given that Tracy has always favored high-average hitters and that’s simply not Stewart’s game, a trade might be in everyone’s best interests.  The Rockies might be selling low, but given the number of third basemen hurt throughout the NL, there should be some team out there willing to give up a legitimate prospect for him.  Stewart is just 26, he hits lefties better than most left-handed hitters and he’s not a Coors Field creation (his 751 road OPS is just 20 points lower than his home mark).

The Rockies, meanwhile, will go it with Wigginton and Jose Lopez.  Ideally, Lopez would stop floundering one of these weeks, because he’s the vastly superior defender.  However, he’s barely above Stewart territory with a .155/.174/.238 line in 84 at-bats.  For that reason, Wigginton figures to get a chance to secure the job if he comes back strong after 16 days with a strained oblique.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.