DENVER (AP) - Players who stood by Jim Tracy while the Colorado Rockies endured their worst season in franchise history are reiterating their support for him following the manager's resignation over the weekend.
Left-hander Jeff Francis said he was surprised to hear Tracy had decided to step down, telling The Associated Press in an email: ``I loved playing for him and I think everyone did. The Rockies will miss him for sure.''
Among the most vocal supporters was outfielder Dexter Fowler, who appreciated Tracy sticking with him through protracted slumps over the last two seasons before a breakout 2012. He tweeted, ``Man I'm gonna miss Tracy, thanks for believing in me! You are a wonderful and stand up guy!''
One of the few bright spots as the Rockies flirted with the dreaded 100-loss season before finishing 64-98, Fowler batted .300 with a .389 on-base percentage and 13 homers last season, all career highs.
Rex Brothers, Tyler Colvin and Josh Rutledge also tweeted praise for Tracy, who informed Bill Geivett, the team's director of major league operations, on Sunday that he was forgoing the final year on his contract, which was to pay him $1.4 million.
``Gonna miss No. 4 sitting in that dugout at Coors! Thanks for everything skip. None better,'' Brothers tweeted.
Colvin tweeted he was ``Sad to hear the news about our skipper. It was a privilege to play for such a great manager and such a great person.'' He concluded with (hashtag)ClassAct''
And Rutledge tweeted, ``So lucky to be able to have played for a manager like Jim Tracy with the professionalism and intelligence for the game. He will be missed.''
Energized by the young players and the challenge of fixing things, Tracy had said repeatedly the last several weeks that he wanted to fulfill the final year on his contract and players including clubhouse leaders Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez said they were sticking by Tracy.
Tracy, however, changed his mind after meeting with Geivett for several hours on Friday and then mulling those discussions over the weekend. He called him Sunday afternoon and offered his resignation.
Tracy, who took over after Clint Hurdle lost the clubhouse in early 2009 and led them to the playoffs that year, finished 294-308 in three-plus seasons.
The Rockies are now conducting their first managerial search since Jim Leyland resigned after the 1999 season. Geivett said he had no set time frame for hiring Tracy's replacement.
Possible candidates include bench coach Tom Runnels and Stu Cole, who managed the Rockies' Triple-A farm club in Colorado Springs.
Follow AP Sports Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton