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Rockies’ Pat Valaika ready to play first base, outfield in 2017, if needed

Pat Valaika prides himself on being the Rockies’ ever-ready utility player. As spring training nears, he’s willing to expand that role to include first base, if called upon.

“I would anticipate getting some time over there,” Valaika said Thursday. “I’m in the role where almost any position on the field is an option, so I need to be ready to play all of them, and first base is one of them.”

Last year, Valaika started 16 games at shortstop, five at third base, three at second, two games in left field and one at first.

First base remains a question mark for the Rockies and they need depth at the position, but Valaika, a natural infielder, is also preparing for more time in the outfield.

“I’ve been working to get stronger and get faster,” he said. “Instead of just doing a lot of infield stuff, I’m doing outfield stuff, too. I want to add that to my repertoire and get more comfortable.”

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