Consider this a family announcement: Mark Tracy had a pretty nice afternoon Monday in Visalia.
"They'll find out," Tracy said of his father and brother, "I don't run to the phone and tell everyone."
Tracy's two homers -- one a grand slam in an 11-run inning -- highlighted Class A Advanced Modesto's 19-6 assault on Visalia. The designated hitter went 3-for-6 with a career-high six RBIs. Somewhere, his father, Rockies manager Jim Tracy, and brother, fellow Rockies prospect Chad Tracy, had to be smiling.
Actually, a lot of Rockies were smiling Monday -- after pounding out 20 hits, the Nuts could finally relax a little bit.
"We were struggling for a while," Tracy said, "So it's nice to see it all come together for a lot of guys today."
Tracy, playing in just his 14th game this season, clubbed a two-run homer in the second inning and a grand slam in the third when the Nuts batted around and scored 11 times against two Visalia pitchers. He struck out swinging in his second at-bat of the frame for the third out. Colorado's 22nd-round pick from 2010 also added a single and scored again in the sixth.
"It was a good day for us," said Tracy, who said the 97-degree heat didn't affect the team too much. "We had been struggling pretty bad for a bit, so it was nice to get away from home. We knocked a couple out and they weren't all the greatest hits, but we were able to find holes, so it was nice doing it as a team. It was a good change of scenery and to get some knocks, we all kinda needed them."
It was the first two-homer game of Tracy's career and the most RBIs he had since Aug. 28, 2011, when he went deep and plated five runs in Class A Asheville's 15-5 win over Hagerstown. After starting the year at extended spring training, Tracy joined Modesto on May 22 and has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games. Monday's outburst bumped his average up to .286.
His grand slam in the third came after the Nuts had already scored twice in the inning.
"I just got a good pitch to hit. He threw me a few pitches in my first at-bat that were up, so that's all I was trying to do, hit the ball hard the other way," he said. "I got a good pitch to hit and hit it out. A lot of guys had some good at-bats that inning."
Other guys included Casey Frawley, who followed Tracy with a two-run double; Brett Tanos, who hit a sacrifice fly; Rafael Ortega, whose two-run homer started the inning; and Kyle Parker, who finished the frame with an RBI single. Modesto had 10 hits and three walks that inning as well.
And Tracy had the chance for a second slam after Jared Clark drew his second bases-loaded walk of the game in the eighth.
"You can't say it's not on your mind," Tracy said of hitting two slams in one day. "All I wanted to do was hit the ball to right-center, just keep hitting it hard, and I made that adjustment after that strikeout [to end the third]. I'm trying to get back to my plan of hitting to right field instead of just taking big hacks."
Tracy hit into an inning-ending double play that at-bat, but as they say, the damage had already been done.
"I knew I was seeing the ball well after that first pitch," he said of his first at-bat, which ended in a two-run homer off Rawhide starter Andrew Chafin. "I've been seeing the ball good during the day, so it was nice to be able to play during the day on the road."
Tracy's year started well when he got to play in two Major League Spring Training games for the Rockies, sharing a dugout with his father. Oddly enough, his time at Spring Training the past two years has been the best opportunity for his dad to actually see him on the field.
But when rosters were completed, Tracy remained in Arizona, tasked with sharpening his skills at first base -- he'd split time at first and catcher while at Duquesne (Pa.) University. He spent about nine weeks at Colorado's spring complex before coming up to make his Cal League debut.
"I worked hard down there, got my at-bats, and got my reps in defensively. That's over with now, I've put it behind me," a relieved Tracy said. "I'm glad I'm here now, that's what I'm focused on now."
It's fun to imagine the possibilities for the Tracy family, with Mark potentially joining his brother Chad, 26, at Coors Field.
"Definitely, this year was really nice training with my brother all offseason. It's a crazy feeling knowing we're in the same spot," Tracy said. "I never really played with my brother before, so to be able to go to his room and hang out was a great experience. My dad's been here the past two seasons I've been there, and I got a couple chances to go up and play in big league games, which was awesome. I never really had the opportunity to play in front of my dad.
"It's awesome to have your dad as a big league manager, but he'd never got the chance to see us play," Tracy added. "So it's great for us to go to Spring Training and have our whole family there."
Tracy doesn't want to come off the wrong way, though -- he knows he needs to earn his place in the Rockies system just like every other teammate. More days like Monday will only help the cause.
"It's not something we like to spotlight, like, 'Oh, that's the manager's kid,'" Tracy said. "But I can't say it wouldn't be awesome to play up there in the big leagues."
One problem -- both Tracy and his brother Chad are first basemen. And Chad is coming off a season in which he had 26 homers and 109 RBIs, his second 100-plus RBI season in the past three years.
"My brother plays the same position, so we'll see," Tracy said with a laugh. "And he's farther ahead developing as a potential big leaguer, but that's the dream, I root for him and I hope he makes it, and it's good to know they root for me. It's a great experience we're getting to have."