Familiar faces: Garvey, Jemiola, Prime back 
with Grand Junction Rockies

Garvey, Jemiola, Prime back 
with Grand Junction Rockies

Grand Junction Rockies outfielder Ryan Garvey spent part of last season with his left hand in a brace, but still made an impact, hitting .304 with five home runs and seven doubles. Garvey is back and healthy this season, hoping to improve his hitting.

Grand Junction Rockies pitcher Zach Jemiola

Grand Junction Rockies infielder Correlle Prime

Ryan Garvey spent much of last summer trying to get the inflammation out of his left hand, which was badly bruised when he was hit by a pitch.

He couldn’t grip a bat, so he sat most of the second half of the season, using the tried-and-true contrast treatment — ice and heat.

That combination of cold and heat in new technology, though, finally did the trick.

“When I got home, my mom said we have this cold laser at the chiropractor, why not try it?” the Grand Junction Rockies outfielder said, flexing his hand. “I go to the chiropractor and I’ve known this guy for awhile, and he said we’re going to do 15 minutes with the cold laser.

“We get done and I wake up the next morning and my hand ... I could feel it. I’m like, ‘What’s this?’ I held a bat and I couldn’t even feel (the pain). I called him and said, ‘We’ve got to do this again.’ We did another 15-minute cycle and the next morning, I’m like, ‘No way, this isn’t happening.’ “

No pain, no inflammation.

Garvey slowly started to swing a bat. No pain.

Ten swings. No pain.

“Fifteen, 20, 30, 45, no way,” he said. “It just worked. It’s one of those things that I just had to do a little thing.”

He was hit by a pitch on the outside of his hand, just above the wrist. No bones were broken, but the swelling wouldn’t go away. It not only cost him the second half of his first pro season, but a chance to go to the Rockies’ fall instructional league.

Garvey, the son of Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame first baseman Steve Garvey, returned to Grand Junction this season, one of five players on the initial roster to come back.

He learned plenty his first year, even when he was just watching from the dugout, his left hand in a brace.

“I came into a new town not knowing absolutely anything,” Garvey said. “I know what I need to do now, things I can do off the field to get my mind straight. Little things make a difference.”

He knows his way around Grand Junction and the Pioneer League. Yes, most of the pitchers will be different this season, but the talent level will be comparable to 2012.

“I think when I step in the batter’s box, my mind-set isn’t going to be pull it, hit it out because we’re at altitude,” said Garvey, who hit .304 with five home runs and seven doubles in 29 games last season.

“I’m going to be thinking right-center and drive it, hit the ball in the gaps and the balls I hit hard, the line drives, those are going to go out. That’s my goal, hit line drives and the balls you hit hard are going to go out.”

A second Rookie season isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a ballplayer. Correlle Prime signed out of high school last season and the big first baseman played behind Ben Waldrip, hitting .283 with one home run in 36 games.

“It was tough last year adapting and I think I did a pretty good job for the time I did play,” Prime said. “Waldrip being a college guy, I learned from him. He’s older than me and I could watch him and be a student of the game.

“I was mainly a pitcher in high school. Hopefully I get a chance to play more every day and get the reps in the field that I need to be ready.”

Prime spent the winter at home in Florida, training at a facility owned by his high school coach. He also worked out with Ian Desmond of the Washington Nationals.

“That helped me out tremendously, him being a big-leaguer,” Prime said. “I picked his brain a lot and I got in a lot better shape. I worked on my swing and really worked on my defense a lot. It’s come a long way but I’ve still got a lot to do.”

Pitcher Zach Jemiola had one of the most frustrating seasons anyone could endure. A broken rib, a shoulder injury and then mononucleosis allowed him to pitch in only five games, 7 2/3 innings.

“I had all offseason to recover,” he said. “I feel good now, my arm feels great.”

Even though he didn’t get on the field often, he, too, learned plenty last season.

“I learned how to pitch,” he said. “Coming from high school, I didn’t need to pitch as much as throw the ball. Now seeing all these pro hitters, I learned what I need to do instead of just throwing fastballs every pitch. You have to have a good approach going to the mound about the guy who’s coming to the plate.”

Although most of their teammates from last season have moved up one, two or even three levels, those who returned this year know it’s not an automatic progression.

“We talked about it a lot, moving up and wanting to play in low A,” Prime said. “But the main goal is to get to the big leagues. Whatever road you have to take to get there, and everybody has a different road.”


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