Former major leaguer Josh Fields -- best remembered for hitting 23 homers in 373 at-bats as a surprise replacement for the 2007 White Sox -- wasted no time making an impression in his debut with Triple A Colorado Springs, going 1-3 with a walk, three RBI and a towering homer in an 18-14 loss to Tucson.
Heading a cast of 11 former major leaguers vieing for callups to the parent club -- Fields, 26, finds himself in a strong comeback position as he has been cast as a deep reserve for struggling Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart, 26, who has yet to play this year coming off knee and hamstring injuries. Fields is also backing up super utility man Ty Wigginton, 33, who is seeing reps at third, first and the outfield in Denver. Fields' homer came off former Padres major leaguer Wade LeBlanc, 26,, who gave up 10 hits and eight earned runs in 4.33 innings.
LeBlanc, who won eight games against 12 losses in 26 major league starts last year, is making a bid to return to San Diego. Another Colorado Springs standout was former major league speedster Willy Taveras, 27, master of the bunt single, who went 3-5 with a bag. Fields and Taveras could turn out to be useful spare parts at the major league level before the year is out.
Another interesting puzzle piece is former Mets first baseman Mike Jacobs, 30, who hit at a .300 clip with power when originally called up in New York six years ago, and cannot be ruled out as a potential backup to aging All Star first baseman Todd Helton, 36. Eric Young Jr., 25 -- son of original Colorado Rockies outfielder Eric Sr. -- has been up and down between Triple A and Denver over the past two years, and likely as not will supplant Jose Lopez, who is keeping second base open for him in Denver. Former Rockies infielder Chris Nelson is also with the Sky Sox.
Other ex-big leaguers at Colorado Springs include catcher Mike Pagnozzi formerly of the Cardinals and pitchers Billy Buckner formerly of the Diamondbacks, Clay Mortensen formerly of the Athletics and Sean White formerly of the Mariners.