Prior to Tuesday night’s home game against Corpus Christi, I had the chance to sit down with Tulsa second baseman/shortstop Josh Rutledge. The 22-year-old (he turns 23 on April 21) was batting .283 with a team-leading three homers and seven RBIs to help Tulsa start the season with an 8-3 record.
Rutledge entered the season as one of Colorado’s top 10 minor league prospects and is expected to see time at Coors Field in the very near future (probably at second base).
Kevin Henry: So how has the game changed for you now that you’ve reached the Double-A level?
Josh Rutledge: It’s still the same game I’ve played all of my life. It’s just a little faster now. I’m still going out there and really playing against myself, trying to improve every day. It’s been fun so far.
Henry: You’re part of a group that moved up to Tulsa after playing in Class-A Modesto last season. How important has it been to team chemistry to have that group stay together?
Rutledge: There’s really a talented group of guys here. We played a whole year together last year and saw how each of us could play the game. It’s been great.
Henry: What did you focus on in the offseason?
Rutledge: I was able to work out for a week in Las Vegas with Tulo (Troy Tulowitzki), Dexter (Fowler), and (Jason) Giambi. That was a great experience. I really wanted to work on my all-around game in the offseason. There is always room for improvement. If you think there isn’t, you really have your priorities mixed up. It’s important to limit the time in between bad and good if things aren’t going well, and that’s where there is always need for improvement.
Henry: Earlier in this homestand, you played your first two games at second base. How has that transition been for you?
Rutledge: Actually, it’s been a pretty easy transition. I worked a lot on it in the offseason. The ground balls are really the same. The hardest part is making the turn on the double play, but I feel very comfortable there. I’ve played shortstop my whole life, but the transition to second has been pretty easy.
Henry: Much of the talk about your move to second base has been because that may be where your future is with the Rockies. Does that enter into your mind right now?
Rutledge: I’m taking it one day at a time because I really don’t want to overthink anything. If it (getting called up) doesn’t happen this year, I’ll just keep going and working on improving. Right now, I’m not going out there every day to play for the Rockies. I’m playing for Tulsa.