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Rockies Catcher Nick Hundley Has Coaching In His Blood

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (CBS4) - If there's a dramatic improvement in Colorado Rockies pitching this season it's because they have an extra coach behind the plate in new arrival Nick Hundley.

A catcher is like a conductor -- he doesn't play the music, he controls it.

"The more I've caught the more I've learned that you can never just roll the dice and throw your fingers down without a reason," Hundley said in a sit-down interview with CBS4's Vic Lombardi. "If you have a reason why you're calling pitches and they get hit, then, you know, they get hit. But if you give up hits and guys don't know why you're calling pitches, (it) doesn't fly."

A good catcher must be stern, yet soothing -- sturdy and selfless.

"For sure -- durability and selflessness, I think. If you can stay on the field, you're healthy; you can't produce if you're not on the field," he said. "I think if the pitchers know you care more about their success, it's just like a coach ... If you see a coach that you know cares more about your success as a player than they do their job security, you'll run through a wall for them."

Hundley has spent the better part of spring training coaching and catching the Rockies' top pitchers.

Jorge De La Rosa.

"Fierce competitor, terrific stuff ... somebody you want out there. You want to catch those types of guys. You want to catch the guy who's fiery, who cares."

Newcomer Kyle Kendrick.

"Professional, steady. I'm really impressed with his work ethic, his routine."

Nick Hundley
Nick Hundley (credit: CBS)

Hundley talks like a coach, because he's the son of a coach.

"My dad is a college football coach, so he coaches CU for 4 years."

He's talking about Tim Hundley, former University of Colorado defensive line coach. He was there during the Rick Neuheisel era.

"I had been a coordinator for probably 20 years and had not coached the d-line before, but I coached the defensive tackles at Colorado," Tim Hundley said.

Although his son had some interest from some smaller schools to play football, CU decided to pass on Nick Hundley, who decided to pursue baseball.

Nick Hundley
Nick Hundley #4 of the Colorado Rockies hits a RBI double against the San Diego Padres during the third inning of the spring training game at Peoria Stadium on March 8, 2015 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tim spent many days throwing batting practice to Nick when he played for the little league Boulder Bulldogs.

"We would go hit (batting practice) in Boulder on the (football) field at CU. He would throw me batting practice at Folsom Field," Nick said. "I've hit on that field more than I've hit at Coors (Field)."

"We went wherever you could find a place that was available," Tim said.

The Hundleys eventually followed Neuheisel to Washington and then UCLA. Tim Hundley recently retired from coaching and he's back to being a baseball dad.

"I've enjoyed watching the climb. It's difficult to get there, it's harder yet to stay."

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