04.25.05

Kim Continues To Light Fires In Colorado

Posted in Baseball at 3:59 pm by

The Rocky Mountain News’ Tracy Ringolsby on the former Arizona/Boston closer, whom the Rockies inexplicably are using in games that actually count.

Former Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver once told general manager Hank Peters he would rather have a 24-man roster than take an extra player he didn’t want.

“If he’s in uniform,” Weaver said, “I’ll wind up using him, and then we’re all in trouble.”

Kind of like the Colorado Rockies with Byung-Hyun Kim.

Right in the midst of a feel-good weekend, Kim entered the scene against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday afternoon at Coors Field. The next thing the Rockies knew, their visions of a weekend sweep of the National League West-leading Dodgers had been wiped out by

Ostensibly, when the Rockies felt the urge the final week of spring training to allow Boston to dump the unwanted Kim on them, they had visions of a quick fix for the one-time closer in Arizona. Kim is only 26 but his career crumbled with the Red Sox.

Kim had problems with Coors Field when he was good – a 6.50 career earned-run average during his days with the Diamondbacks. So it should be no surprise that while he has lost 6 or 7 mph off his fastball and can’t command the ball down in the strike zone, he has given up six runs in 4 1/3 innings at Coors Field this year.

He didn’t even get an out Sunday.

Hurdle wanted to take advantage of matchups, and he brought left-hander Brian Fuentes into the game in the seventh. The thought was Fuentes would face left-handed-hitting J.D. Drew in the eighth, then give way to Kim. Fuentes got through the seventh untouched, but he hit Drew with an 0-2 pitch to open the eighth.

On came Kim, and on went the Dodgers. First, Kim hit Jeff Kent with a 1-2 pitch. Then he gave up a double to Milton Bradley. A single by Olmedo Saenz followed and the Dodgers were on their way to a winning five-run rally after a 5-3 Rockies lead.

Hurdle deflected questions about Kim.

“We need somebody to step forward, a couple guys to step forward,” Hurdle said, referring to the bullpen. . . . We are going to give them a chance to make an impact until we get to the point where they are not giving us anything to hold onto. We have to see growth. We have to see positive growth.”

There have been no tangible signs of growth from Kim. He is supposed to be able to throw strikes but that hasn’t been the case with Colorado. He has allowed only six hits in 9 1/3 innings but he has given up 10 runs, primarily because he has walked 11 batters and hit two others.

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