Notes: Corpas clears up accusations
Rockies closer says he poured water simply to cool off
PHILADELPHIA -- Rockies closer Manny Corpas explained it as his way of keeping cool on a hot day. Little did he know he touched off (cup of) Watergate '07.
Before Corpas pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to close the 4-2 Game 1 victory over the Phillies in the National League Division Series on Wednesday, TBS cameras showed Corpas douse himself with a cup of liquid in the bullpen, then rub the ground with his hand and touch his jersey. It raised suspicions that he was making some kind of paste to doctor the baseball.
Before Thursday's game, both teams laughed it off, but it was obvious umpires were watching closely. In the second inning, Rockies starter Franklin Morales was charged with an automatic ball for touching his mouth while on the mound.
Corpas, who displayed an electric slider to go with his fastball, said Thursday he was unaware of a controversy until his agent, Tom O'Connell, talked to him Wednesday night.
With a bemused smile, Corpas said it was water, not another substance. He said it's not the first time.
"It was too hot, so I poured water on my head," Corpas said. "Now everybody's saying what am I doing ... 'Da-da-da.' I don't know."
Stepping behind the pitching rubber or off the mound and rubbing the dirt is part of Corpas' normal routine. He also said that on hot days, dousing himself is normal.
"I normally do it in Arizona and Denver sometimes when it's hot," said Corpas, who also said he hasn't had an opposing team complain or an umpire check him. "I don't do nothing bad."
Corpas said he was asked at one point if he what he had poured was Red Bull, the energy drink.
Corpas responded: "I said, 'Red Bull? Nah.'"
After hearing about the suspicions, Corpas said he went to pitching coach Bob Apodaca to ask if he was breaking any rules, but Apodaca said it was OK. Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said he hadn't seen the video and didn't know the exact nature of the controversy.
"It's not like we won't ask questions about it, but we won't make a [big] deal about it," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, adding that he didn't see any unusual, Gaylord Perry-type movement on the pitches. "I don't know how much that had to do with anything. It's not like he took a whole cup of water and put it all over him. He dripped it on him.
"We'll watch him, but to me, it was how much liquid he threw on himself. It wasn't a lot."
Corpas smiled and said he'll give people nothing to discuss.
"Today, I'm going to do nothing," Corpas said Thursday. "There are cameras and everything, so I'm going to get my water and drink it."
However, the game-time temperature was 82 degrees, and it won't be much cooler if he's called upon in a save situation.
Getting ready: Hurdle said center fielder Willy Taveras, who hasn't played since Sept. 8 because of a right quadriceps strain, led off every inning of an instructional league game against Diamondbacks players on Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz.
"He had a few hits, stole a base," Hurdle said. "They had his times down the [first-base] line. It wasn't anything eye-opening, but he was running and seemed to have a pretty good day."
Hurdle also said right-handers Aaron Cook, who hasn't pitched since Aug. 10 because of an oblique strain, and Jason Hirsh, who suffered a fractured right fibula on Aug. 7, threw bullpen sessions in Tucson on Wednesday. Cook will pitch in a game on Saturday. Hurdle said he didn't have a date for Hirsh to throw in a game.
Taveras is not on a disabled list. Cook and Hirsh are eligible to return from the 60-day DL for the National League Championship Series, should the Rockies prevail against the Phils.
Happy dozen: The Rockies raised some eyebrows with the decision to carry 12 pitchers while the Phillies are using just 10.
It's more of an issue for Rockies fans, who witnessed manager Don Baylor -- with 11 hurlers -- have to use pitcher Lance Painter to pinch-hit with the bases loaded and a one-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 1995 playoffs against the Braves. Painter struck out, and the Rockies lost, 5-4.
Bench coach Jamie Quirk, who figures to be a candidate for a managerial job -- there could be sentiment from the Royals, a team he spent part of his playing career with and was on the coaching staff -- said it all has to do with personnel.
For example, Quirk, who consults on moves with Hurdle in the dugout, said right-handed-hitting utility man Jamey Carroll can be used as a pinch-runner, then stay in the game for defensive purposes and throw out a quality at-bat. Quirk noted that it's the same with outfielder Cory Sullivan, who singled in the top of the ninth Wednesday and stayed in the game to play defense.
The Phillies, Quirk noted, also played to their personnel strengths. They had Greg Dobbs walk as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, and then they used Abraham Nunez to run for him. The Phillies also are carrying three catchers as a precaution because Carlos Ruiz was hit on the elbow by a pitch in the final regular-season game and has dealt with shoulder issues.
"We kept it with the five extra guys we had on the bench all year," Quirk said. "We even had four for a while.
"I've been on teams where in '85 [with the World Series champion Royals], we went with nine pitchers on the whole staff, and Dan Quisenberry, our closer, could go multiple innings."
Hurdle, who learned some of his managing style while playing for Whitey Herzog with the Royals and the Cardinals, and Quirk, who watched closely while playing for Tony La Russa with the Athletics, are known for deft handling of bench players.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.