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New Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black is coming to Albuquerque with intentions of painting over the Duke City’s abundance of Dodger blue with a little but of Rockies purple.
On Friday, Jan. 27, the Colorado Rockies 2017 Winter Caravan will roll into Albuquerque for a luncheon sponsored by the Isotopes, their Triple-A affiliate, at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Joining Black at the luncheon will be Colorado players Trevor Story, Mike Dunn, Adam Ottavino and Rockies mascot Dinger.
Story played 61 games with the Isotopes in 2015 and hit 27 home runs in 97 games with the Rockies last season.
Ottavino has pitched in 223 games with a 3.36 ERA in five seasons with Colorado.
Black, who was hired as the Rockies new manager in November, pitched 15 seasons in the majors. He won a World Series ring as a starting pitcher with the Kansas City Royals in 1985 and as pitching coach with the Los Angeles Angels in 2002.
Black managed the San Diego Padres from 2007-2015 and spent the 2016 season as an assistant in the Angels’ front office.
Black has experience in Albuquerque having pitched for San Diego State against the New Mexico Lobos and against the Albuquerque Dukes in the old Sports Stadium when he was in the minors.
But now, Black is looking forward to showing Albuquerque fans what his team is all about.
“I’m excited to get there and talk some baseball and represent the Colorado Rockies organization,” Black said.
“Albuquerque is a great city and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The other new member of the Rockies on the Caravan will be making somewhat of a homecoming.
Mike Dunn, a lefty reliever, grew up in Farmington and played for Piedra Vista before moving to Las Vegas, Nev. — where he still lives in the offseason — for his senior year.
After playing at the College of Southern Nevada, Dunn was picked in the 33rd round with the 999th overall pick by the New York Yankees. He was originally drafted as an outfielder but the Yankees converted him to a pitcher. He made his MLB debut in September of 2009 with the Yankees and was traded to the Atlanta Braves in December of that year.
In 2010, Dunn was traded to the Marlins, where he spent the past six seasons. After recording an ERA of 3.59 in 405 games with the Marlins, Dunn signed a three-year, $19 million contract with the Rockies in December.
“It’s tough but I’ve been in three organizations in my career,” Dunn said. “It’s just part of the business.”
Colorado, with its high altitude, seems like an unlikely destination for a couple of pitchers like Black and Dunn, but both said taking the mound at Coors Field is nothing to be afraid of.
“The way I look at it is, both teams have to pitch there,” Black said.
“It’s not a disadvantage. If you make good pitches and throw strikes, you’ll get outs.”
Dunn has allowed two runs and struck out eight in five career innings at Coors Field.
“It’s about mindset,” Dunn said. “You just focus on getting the guy at the plate out and don’t worry about the other things.”
But before Black, Dunn and Co. start trying to get outs in Denver, they’re hoping to get some fans out in Albuquerque to talk about the Rockies.
Tickets for the luncheon are $30 per person or $275 for a table of 10 and must be ordered by Friday.
Net proceeds will benefit Lobo Little League to help it recover from theft and vandalism in 2016.
Winter Caravan luncheon
At ABQ Convention Center
Appearing: Manager Bud Black, pitchers Mike Dunn and Adam Ottavino, shortstop Trevor Story, mascot Dinger
11:15 a.m.: Q&A, autographs
11:45 a.m.: Luncheon fund-raiser to benefit Lobo Little League, hosted by the ABQ Isotopes. Tickets: $30/person, $275/table of 10. Call 924-BALL by Friday. The Rockies will match the net proceeds.
1:30 p.m.: Lobo LL press conference, field tour (open to the public)