Rockies infielder and pinch-hitter Pat Valaika joined Sean Walsh on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 to talk about the Rockies’ off-season moves, the outlook for the 2018 season and how his versatility in the infield helped him earn playing time last season.

“I think [general manager] Jeff (Bridich) has done a great job; that ‘pen is going to be filthy. Our starting pitching is great,” Valaika said, when reviewing the moves the front office has made this off-season. Valaika also addressed the first base situation, saying that “(Bridich) has played it pretty tight to the vest, so I am not sure, but whatever he does, I am sure it will work out.”

Valaika mentioned that even though his favorite spot to play in the infield is second base, he believes he is capable of manning the first base position. He spoke about his experience at first base, “I played maybe three or four games last year, and then in spring training I played a little bit, but that is definitely one of the positions that is new to me — that I have been working on.”

He isn’t worried about his inexperience at the position if called upon, saying, “I am comfortable, I do not think they (Rockies) would ever throw me in a position where I am uncomfortable. Whenever they have an idea of where I am going to play, they make sure I am getting my reps there and am prepared. So I have definitely been working on it, and I got some game experience last year there and in spring training. This spring training, I am sure I will get some more — and the more time you have over there, the more natural it becomes.”

When asked if the mindset for 2018 is to win the World Series, Valaika responded, “Absolutely. I think the way that last season ended, it felt really cut short to us, and I think this year we are just going to build on that. We only made it to a Wild Card game last year, but I think our goal is to go even farther and I think we have the tools and the players to do it.”

Valaika is coming off a 13-homer season in 2017, four of them of the pinch-hit variety and ten of them coming in the sixth inning or later. The Rockies hope he can be an important piece on a 2018 team that hopes to be in contention.

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