Citizen Staff Writer
Oakland outfielder Matt Holliday spent much of Tuesday afternoon chatting with old friends before early batting practice.
He talked to some of his former Colorado teammates while playing catch and on the base paths after getting a pair of singles.
The ex-Rockies star was obviously glad to see players he spent his past five years with, although Colorado prevailed 14-7 in front of 3,607 fans at Hi Corbett Field.
“These guys are going to be my friends until I die, no matter where I play, what team they’re on or what team I’m on,” Holliday said. “They’re my friends and it’s good to see them, no matter what the circumstances.”
Holliday made a huge name for himself with the Rockies before being traded in November for closer Huston Street, pitcher Greg Smith and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.
He was coming out of a different clubhouse this time.
“It seemed a little strange coming into this park and coming out of (the opponents’) dugout,” Holliday said. “The only other time I might have done that was in an intrasquad game, but it was not too bad.”
The left fielder, who led the National League in batting (.340), hits (216), RBIs (137) and doubles (50) during the Rockies’ 2007 World Series season, was welcomed back happily by his ex-teammates.
He got a single off Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa in the first inning for a RBI.
He added a single in the fifth inning to go 2 for 3.
“Once you get in there, it is all about competing and your adrenaline gets going no matter who is out there,” Holliday said when asked if he was geared up to play his former club. “I didn’t feel any different.”
The Rockies are still trying to find a replacement for Holliday. Leading candidate Seth Smith went 1 for 3 with a two-run double and a run-scoring sacrifice fly.
Scott Podsednik, Matt Murton and Carlos Gonzalez have seen action at Holliday’s position this spring.
The biggest void Holliday left was at the plate. He is a career .319 hitter with 128 home runs and 483 RBIs, all with the Rockies.
“There will be an absence there,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “We are going to give somebody else an opportunity in left field. We have a number of people who will try to create an offensive wedge out there.
“He played very good on the defensive side of the ball (too), but the game moves on, teams move on.”