Roling has big plans for season



Central grad will begin season with Colorado Rockies Double A affiliate Tulsa Drillers.


Fruita Monument grad was released by the Seattle Mariners.


Delta grad will begin season with the San Francisco Giants Class A Advanced affiliate San Jose Giants.

This could be the year Kiel Roling breaks out.

The Central High School graduate is embarking on his fourth year in professional baseball and he’s ready for this season maybe more than any other.

The 2008 Colorado Rockies sixth-round draft pick found out over the weekend that he will begin the 2012 season later this week with the Rockies Double A affiliate Tulsa (Okla.) Drillers.

“I’m excited,” Roling told the Daily Sentinel. “I went there a couple years ago. I get to go back where I struggled and prove I can play there.”

Roling, 25, began the 2010 season with Tulsa after a successful year in Class A Asheville (N.C.), but the first baseman was plagued with injuries, spending three separate stints on the disabled list that season.

Injuries in spring training last year slowed his start, but Roling eventually had a productive year at Class A Advanced Modesto (Calif.), hitting .252 with 16 home runs and 58 RBI.

“I started working out earlier this year and it carried over into spring,” he said.

The workouts paid off.

Roling had a successful spring, playing a couple spring training games with the Colorado Rockies the past week.

“It was a lot of fun,” Roling said. “You see them play on TV and you get this perception of them and how they would be and they’re not like that at all. They are like big kids. They like to screw around, but when it comes to the games they are all business.”

Roling will split time with another first baseman at Tulsa and could get some more at-bats as a designated hitter. In Double A, the designated hitter is used in games involving an American League affiliate.

“You keep getting older,” he said. “That emphasizes having a big year and it’s amplified more. You can’t put pressure on yourself. You just do what you can and hope for the best.”

Shaver Hansen didn’t get his minor league assignment. Instead, the 2006 Fruita Monument High School graduate was released by the Seattle Mariners last week.

“I had a very good spring,” Hansen said. “I was hitting the ball well.”

He is back in Grand Junction now and plans to start taking college classes online.

“We’ll see,” Hansen said of his future. “If another opportunity suits me, I’ll cross that bridge when it comes to it. Until then, I’m planning for other things.”

If the right opportunity to play doesn’t come along in the next few weeks, Hansen said he plans on returning to Baylor University to complete his bachelor’s degree. He completed three years of college before signing a pro contract.

Hansen, 24, was coming off a productive season last year with Class A Advanced High Desert (Calif.), where he hit .289 in 54 games.

He was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the sixth round of the 2009 draft.

Delta High School graduate Chris Wilson is returning to Class A Advanced San Jose this week after a rare injury put him on the disabled list last season.

The right-handed relief pitcher threw 15 1/3 innings last season with the San Francisco Giants affiliate when a blood clot formed between his right-pitching arm and his neck in May.

Wilson, 25, had surgery to remove the blood clot then had another surgery a month later to remove a rib that pinched the vein, causing the blood clot.

He missed the rest of the season and didn’t start pitching in rehab until Aug. 15.

“Because I wasn’t able to throw as often, I wasn’t as sharp (this spring) as I would like to be,” Wilson told the Sentinel.

The previous season, Wilson was plagued by a partially torn ligament in his elbow, limiting him to 22 1/3 innings at Class A Augusta (Ga.).

“Moving up quickly is in the back of my mind, but I just want to do my job,” Wilson said. “If I move up, great. If not, I’m happy to make it through the season healthy.”

Wilson was selected by the Giants in the 38th round of the 2008 draft. He split time between the Giants two Rookie-level affiliates that year.

In 2009, he picked up nine saves for Augusta.


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