After Rockies catcher Drew Butera blasted a three-run home run in a summer camp scrimmage Tuesday at Coors Field, he returned to the dugout for “foot shakes” — a handshake replacement with Colorado teammates taping feet together in mid-air.
A small glimpse of what an altered MLB world looks like amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think as the season goes on, there are going to be some really funny and creative ways for teams to celebrate,” Butera told reporters Wednesday on a video conference call. “I’m looking forward to watching those.”
Butera’s blast did more than inspire creative celebration. It helped reaffirm a Rockies’ team strength entering this shortened MLB season: A wealth of talented catchers.
“We do have depth at that position,” Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond said. “I don’t know that every major league team can say that. Having these guys around has been exciting.”
Tony Wolters, Colorado’s established starting catcher, batted a career-high .262 last season with 94 hits and 42 RBIs. Rockies pitchers also raved about Wolters’ willingness to work out locally during the pandemic, further entrenching his leadership role in the clubhouse.
“He’s one of the best blockers I’ve ever seen,” Redmond said. “He takes a lot of pride in that. His throwing, too. He continues to improve. It’s been fun now this being the fourth year that I’ve been here to see his steady progress.”
Behind Wolters is a cast of catchers the Rockies also trust.
Elias Diaz: January free-agent signing (Pirates) who recorded at least 30 runs in each of the past two seasons. Butera: Appeared in 513 career MLB games over 10 seasons, winning the 2015 World Series with Kansas City. Dom Nunez: Played in 16 games as a rookie last season with two home runs.
“Are there wide gaps between those guys talent-wise? Probably not,” Rockies manager Bud Black. “It’s a talented group. We feel good about their skill level.”
Butera considers the bond between Colorado catchers similar to brothers and said each brings their own “unique skill set” to the club. Yet they also share a common bond.
“There are always going to be individual success goals, you want to do well personally, but my main goal is to win,” Butera said. “This is going to be an interesting season. It’s very short this year. You’ve got to win right out of the gate. It’s almost like playoff baseball right away.
“I want another World Series. I want a parade. I want a celebration. That, to me, is the ultimate goal.”
Footnotes. The Rockies formally announced Wednesday that the team agreed to terms with undrafted right-handed pitcher Blake Goldsberry (Kansas), who played prep baseball locally at Cherry Creek. At KU, Goldsberry finished his career 7-13 with a 5.76 ERA, 51 walks and 91 strikeouts over 80 appearances — including two starts. … The Texas Rangers’ home opener on July 24 against the Rockies will be their first game in Globe Life Field — a new $1.1-billion stadium in Arlington. “That’s always a great experience to open up a ballpark,” Black said. “I’ve heard it’s a great ballpark. It’s fresh. It’s new. It’s exciting for people down in Texas. They’re great baseball people down there and it’s a great sports community in the metroplex.”