Rockies owner sticking to 90-win prediction

DENVER (AP) Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort raised eyebrows this spring when he said on a Twitter chat that he thought his team could win 90 games so long as his players stayed healthy.

Despite losing two-fifths of his starting rotation already with Jhoulys Chacin (shoulder) and Tyler Chatwood (hamstring) on the DL, Monfort is sticking to his prediction as the Rockies get set to host Arizona in their home opener Friday.

The reason for his lone-wolf optimism – Colorado’s starting pitching.

He figures Chatwood will be back by mid-month and Chacin should be back by the beginning of May if not sooner.

”And we’ve got two of the best players in the game at their position and that should mean something,” Monfort added.

Provided of course that Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez can stay healthy and in the lineup together, something they’ve had trouble doing the last couple of seasons.

Then, there’s Wilin Rosario behind the plate, Nolan Arenado at third and Michael Cuddyer in right.

”You’ve got a catcher that can hit. People question his catching – I don’t happen to be one of those. I know he’s got some room to grow. And you’ve got a third baseman who is going to be a pretty good player as well. And then you’ve got the NL batting title guy in right field,” Monfort said.

”All those things to me add up to a pretty good season.”

Ninety wins doesn’t seem outrageous to Monfort, whose Rockies haven’t reached the playoffs since 2009.

Most owners are loath to put a number out there.

Not Monfort.

”The question was asked in a tweet: injuries, everybody stays healthy, this, that and everything else, how many games will you win? So, I didn’t think they wanted a range. I thought they wanted a number,” Monfort said. ”We want to win more than we lose, so that puts us somewhere over 81. Ninety seemed like a number that could get you to the playoffs and we want to get to the playoffs. So I shot that number out.”

And he’s sticking to it, even with Chacin and Chatwood already hurt.

”I think everybody is going to lose a starter for a week or two,” Monfort said. ”You hate to lose `em the first two weeks because you would like to save that for later. But we do have more depth, so we’re hopeful that these guys get back and the guys that fill in for them do well.”

Monfort realizes winning 90 games will be difficult in the NL West.

”It’s tough division,” he said. ”The Dodgers make it really tough. San Francisco is tough enough. Really, the whole conference is good. But you know, that’s the division we’re in. We all go out there with the bat and the ball. I think we’ve got some areas where we’re better than all in the division and we’ve got some areas where we’re lacking.

”But last year, I think we went .500 with the Dodgers, or pretty close to that. So I mean, game by game we can play with them. Game by game we can play with San Francisco. Game by game we can play with Arizona. Game by game we can play with San Diego. So, we’ve got to be smart. We’ve got to use our money wisely. We’ve got to play a little smarter than them.”

Right-hander Juan Nicasio takes the mound for Colorado on Friday against the D-Backs, who counter with righty Randall Delgado.

A storm that dumped several inches of snow on Denver on Thursday is expected to move out of the area, replaced by sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 40s and lower 50s.

”It’s hard to pitch when it’s cold like that,” Nicasio said. ”But it’s bad for the hitter, too. He hates it when you throw inside.”

AP Sports Writer Steven Wine contributed.