Jorge Alfaro presents Colorado Rockies with rare opportunity at catcher

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JUNE 20: Jorge Alfaro #38 of the Colorado Rockies bats against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on June 20, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jeff Dean/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JUNE 20: Jorge Alfaro #38 of the Colorado Rockies bats against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on June 20, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jeff Dean/Getty Images) /

The arrival of Jorge Alfaro on June 15 has presented the Colorado Rockies with a rare opportunity.

Jorge Alfaro is one of three catchers on the active roster for the Colorado Rockies

Alfaro’s addition in Denver, just five days after he had signed a Minor League contract with the club, gives Colorado three catchers on the 40-man active roster.

Alfaro joins veteran Elias Diaz and Austin Wynns as backstops for the Rockies.

Carrying three catchers on the active roster is not a common practice for Major League teams.

For Alfaro — who has played parts of seven Major League seasons for Philadelphia, Miami and, most recently, San Diego (in 2022) — his approach to the game is still the same despite a crowded Colorado catcher’s room.

“Nothing has changed,” said Alfaro, who was released by Boston on June 1. “My mindset is go hustle out there. If I have the opportunity to play, go and give my 100 percent all the time. That has been my mindset since I started playing baseball.

“That is all I think about every time I come to the field,” he added. “I just want to enjoy the game and, at the same time, play hard.”

The native of Sincelejo, Colombia, has shown evidence of his penchant for playing hard in his first nine games with the Colorado Rockies.

He swatted his first home run as a Rockie June 21 against Cincinnati, his first round-tripper since July 29, 2022, to snap an 0-for-11 drought at the plate in his first three games with the club.

Alfaro followed that up with a key pinch-hit double and run scored Wednesday as part of a five-run eighth inning to help Colorado rally for a 9-8 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Rockies Manager Bud Black noted the importance of Alfaro’s two-bagger against the team’s National League West Division foe.

“Alfaro has been a little up and down,” Black said of the reserve catcher’s play since joining Colorado. “He had a good swing, a little bit late on a ball that he fouled down the right field line (before his double),” the manager added about the at bat that produced Alfaro’s third career pinch-hit extra-base hit.

“But he barreled the ball up on a good fastball. So, that was critical — first and second (bases) with no outs.”

Alfaro was glad to get the chance to help his team against Los Angeles.

“They (the coaches) gave me the opportunity yesterday,” Alfaro said the day after his key base hit. “I just had to be prepared. If you have to hit, have to go catch or whatever, I have to be prepared to execute. Either way, this is a game that you are going to fail and you are going to have success sometimes. I have to be mentally prepared for that so I could help the team to win.”

Alfaro’s joining the Rockies unites him with Diaz, another fellow Colombian. In fact, the two played for the country’s National Team in this spring’s World Baseball Classic.

Diaz realizes the importance of having someone with Alfaro’s skill set and experience — he originally was signed as an international free agent in 2010 before making his MLB debut in 2016 with the Phillies.

“He’s special; we know each other,” said Diaz, who texted Alfaro upon hearing that he was going to join Colorado. “We know that we can help him with anything and he can help me at some point. It’s good for all.”

While Alfaro has notched just one start at catcher in his first nine games played with the Rox, he knows that his opportunity — whether as a starter or reserve — will arrive and he needs to be ready when the call to play comes.

“Just do what i can do; be prepared,” he said. “Be prepared whenever the opportunity comes. That’s all I can do right now. I’m not playing too much but sitting on the bench. I have to be focused on the game. See what is going on just in case I get in just as it happened (against Los Angeles).”

Editor’s Note: Alfaro was designated for assignment on Friday afternoon when Kris Bryant was activated from the injured list.

The big surprise that recently awaited Nolan Jones. dark. Next