HOUSTON -- When the Rockies and Astros tangle, get ready for some flashy glovework at the hot corner. The matchup boasts two of the premier young defensive third basemen in Nolan Arenado for Colorado and Matt Dominguez for Houston.
The two played against each other during their high school days in California and in the Arizona Fall League two years ago, so Arenado said he was familiar with Dominguez's ability.
"I've known what Dominguez is about for a while, because he's a Cali guy, like me," Arenado said. "That team he was on in high school [Chatsworth High] was stacked. He's always had those sharp reflexes at third. He's a big-time talent and could definitely be an up-and-coming star."
Astros manager Bo Porter has repeatedly labeled Dominguez's defense as "Gold-Glove caliber," and Dominguez has belted out seven homers over his last 15 games to complement his glove work.
Arenado was known more for his bat than his excellent glove at the Minor League level, but the Majors haven't been as kind to him.
Entering Tuesday, Arenado was hitting just .243 with 13 strikeouts in May. But that glove that once helped turn 36 double plays in the Minors has stuck.
Arenado and Dominguez each snagged hard-hit balls off the other's bat during Monday's series opener, drawing audible reactions from the crowd at Minute Maid Park.
"I played against him in the [Arizona] Fall League and stuff, and Nolan's pretty impressive, a pretty good hitter," Dominguez said. "He always makes some good defensive plays. I enjoy watching him play. He's great over there."
Like father, like son for Young baseball family
HOUSTON -- Rockies outfielder Eric Young Jr. isn't from Houston, but his two days playing in the city have been nothing short of a homecoming. His father, Eric Young, is an analyst for Astros games on Comcast Sports Net.
Prior to Tuesday's game, father interviewed son on camera for nearly 20 minutes, and Young Jr. even recorded a Father's Day message on camera.
The elder Young, who amassed 1,731 hits in 15 Major League seasons and officially retired with the Colorado Rockies in 2008, said the interview was an emotional experience.
"This is very rare, for a dad to interview his son, who also plays in the Majors," Young said. "To be able to do it is just unbelievable. Him following my footsteps into pro ball, we would talk about it when he was a little kid. The dream is here."
Young's former double-play partner, Walt Weiss, is now his son's manager. Dante Bichette was also Young's teammate and now mentors Young Jr. as the Rockies' hitting coach.
Young Jr. said he grew up idolizing his father's style of play, which was predicated on speed and a quick bat.
"Good thing I got his genes," he quipped. "I'm happy to have those attributes."
Young Jr. also got to see the rest of his family, and his younger brother, all of 6 years old, hit a walk-off home run in his Little League game on Monday.
"I told my brother, 'You hit one and I've hit one this year,'" he said. "I told him, 'You hit another one, I'll hit another one.' It's stuff like that, just getting to see your family, that makes it good to be here."
Rockies splitting time in series with Astros
HOUSTON -- The current Astros-Rockies series isn't notable just for kicking off a new Interleague rivalry. The four-game series is split between Houston and Colorado for two games each, and players have taken notice.
"Obviously, it's different from what we're used to," Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said. "It's weird to be going back home right after this and immediately facing the same team again. It's pretty cool to get a change of pace, almost like a postseason setup."
First baseman Todd Helton has been with the Rockies since 1997 and said he can't remember a split series like this since "I was a much younger man."
"Early in my career, we would play two-game series to kind of adjust when they had just added a few new teams into the league," Helton said. "They went away from it pretty quick. It's a rarity."
Rockies manager Walt Weiss said the split-venue series -- and the resulting day games in Houston -- caught his attention for the schedule it put his team on.
"Going back to the last two games in San Francisco and now here, we've been on a Spring Training schedule now for the last four days. It'll be nice to get a few night games and get back to normal," Weiss said.
Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.