February 20, 2013 in Sports

Fowler happy veteran after breakout year

Associated Press

(Full-size photo)

Dexter Fowler is no longer the precocious prospect brimming with potential. At 26 and entering his fifth full season in the major leagues, the Colorado Rockies’ center fielder is a seasoned veteran.

“I was walking in and I said ‘I feel old,’ ” Fowler said after a conditioning session this week at the club’s spring training facilities in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I’ve been in this organization since ’04, so it’s home.”

The Rockies have staked their present and near future on the lanky Fowler after avoiding arbitration and signing him to a two-year, $11.6 million contract earlier this month.

Fowler has always shown the potential to be an impact player but finally became a more effective and productive player in 2012 when he set career highs in hits, home runs, RBIs, batting average (.300) and on-base percentage (.389).

The Rockies certainly feel good about their investment following his breakout season, and the feeling is mutual. He’s glad to be in purple and black for two more years with the organization he’s been with since 2004.

“It’s awesome and it’s an awesome organization. This is home. This is what I know,” Fowler said. “I’m going to try to go out and build upon where I am now.”

Clearing the bases

Nationals pitcher Ross Detwiller will pitch for Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. The 26-year-old Detwiler will be the second Nationals pitcher to play for Team USA, joining Gio Gonzalez. … Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes has upper back stiffness and will be sidelined for a few days. … San Francisco catcher Buster Posey received the steepest increase among players in salary arbitration this year. According to a study, the 133 players who filed last month gained an average increase of 119 percent. Posey, the N.L. batting champion and MVP, led the way with a 13-fold hike to $8 million. … Cubs pitcher Matt Garza has a mild side strain and is expected to miss only a week of spring training camp. Garza is one of the candidates manager Dale Sveum will consider to start on opening day for the Cubs, who lost 101 games last season. … The Pirates and manager Clint Hurdle have officially agreed to a contract extension that runs through at least the end of the 2014 season. Pittsburgh is 151-173 in two seasons under Hurdle, including a 79-83 mark in 2012, tied for the franchise’s best record in two decades. … The Braves will retire Chipper Jones’ number 10 and induct him into the team’s hall of fame on June 28.

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