Arenado belts fifth spring homer in clash with Giants

Matzek allows two runs in four innings; Bettis surrenders pair

Arenado belts fifth spring homer in clash with Giants

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Justin Maxwell's third RBI of the day helped the Giants negate Nolan Arenado's three-run, fifth-inning homer and give San Francisco a 4-3 Cactus League victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.

Giants starter Tim Lincecum blanked Colorado for four innings before faltering. Charlie Blackmon walked and Troy Tulowitzki singled before Arenado lifted a 1-1 pitch to left field for his fifth spring homer.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Axford dealing with son's rattlesnake bite

Rockies reliever's child undergoing extensive treatment to save foot

Axford dealing with son's rattlesnake bite

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander John Axford has been away from the club for most of the last week helping tend to his 2 1/2-year-old son, Jameson, who was bitten by a rattlesnake on the top of his right foot two times last Wednesday and is in a local hospital.

Doctors thought their initial anti-venom treatment was effective, but there was more venom than originally expected. Axford said doctors have saved the foot, although there is concern about one of Jameson's toes. Axford has spent most of the time at the hospital as his son struggled through pain and lack of sleep.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matzek finishes spring work ahead of home opener

Southpaw 'blessed' to receive honor of kicking off Coors Field slate

Matzek finishes spring work ahead of home opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Tyler Matzek is happy to be done with the abbreviated outings of Spring Training and looking forward to the Rockies' April 10 home opener against the Cubs.

Matzek finished his Cactus League responsibilities Tuesday with four innings, during which he gave up two runs on four hits and two walks against the Giants.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Offensive boost on road crucial for Rockies

Increasing runs per game away from Coors Field would likely put Colorado in great position

Offensive boost on road crucial for Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- First baseman Justin Morneau joined the Rockies last season with an advantage over most teammates. His lengthy career with the Twins prepared him for mind games created by park effects.

"I went from the Metrodome, which was a decent hitters' park, to Target Field, which was not a good hitters' park for left-handed hitters," said Morneau, who saw his slugging percentage go from .488 to .436 merely by going outside, but managed a higher batting average (.279 to .274) and on-base percentage (.351 to .349) than indoors.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bettis still contending for Rockies' rotation spot

Colorado has plan for Axford; Dickerson scratched as precaution

Bettis still contending for Rockies' rotation spot

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis won't go away easily.

The Rockies optioned Bettis to Minor League camp March 22, but the club has called him back twice for games, the latest a four-inning effort Tuesday in a 4-3 loss to the Giants. And with the Rockies scrambling for a fourth starter, Bettis is back in consideration for the Opening Day roster.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies infielder Culberson optioned to Minors

Colorado trades catcher Perez to Orioles for cash

Rockies infielder Culberson optioned to Minors

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies optioned infielder Charlie Culberson to the Minors and traded Minor League catcher Audry Perez to the Orioles for cash considerations on Tuesday in a pair of roster-clearing moves.

Culberson, 25, batted .195 as a utility player last year after hitting .293 in 47 games in 2013. The Rockies saw a more prepared Culberson early in camp, but he suffered a bulging disk in his lower back and didn't play in Cactus League games from March 8-28.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Butler to rest fatigued shoulder for two days

Butler to rest fatigued shoulder for two days

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Eddie Butler said doctors confirmed that his right shoulder was fatigued when he left Monday's game after one inning and there was no serious injury. However, Butler has been ordered to rest for two days. It's unclear when he'll throw again.

Butler, the Rockies' No. 2 prospect, was bidding for a spot in the Opening Day starting rotation, but he said the shoulder felt "weird" on an up-and-in pitch to Athletics slugger Billy Butler, and felt it again a few pitches later. On Tuesday, Eddie Butler was able to do limited exercise.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wisdom serving Tulowitzki well at 30

Though compromised by injuries, star shortstop keeps sights set on full season

Wisdom serving Tulowitzki well at 30

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will ignore the special feeling that accompanies Opening Day this year in Milwaukee.

Last season's blissful start for the four-time All-Star, which included a 1.035 on-base plus slugging percentage and golden defense, disappeared after 91 games, at which point the long-standing labrum tear in Tulowitzki's left hip became unbearable and he underwent surgery. He'll get his excitement from being around for 162 games.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen struggles after Butler exits game early

Hundley, LeMahieu chip in seventh-inning RBI singles

Bullpen struggles after Butler exits game early

MESA, Ariz. -- A's third baseman Brett Lawrie launched a pair of homers and collected four RBIs in Monday's 11-2 victory over the Rockies at Hohokam Stadium, as Oakland's offense continued to roll. Oakland is now 13-1 at its new spring home.

Lawrie has four home runs in his last eight games.

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Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Major Lee-ague, and follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brothers labors through third straight rough outing

Left-hander struggles with command; CarGo feels fine in return to lineup

Brothers labors through third straight rough outing

MESA, Ariz. -- Rex Brothers struggled for the third consecutive outing Monday in the Rockies' 11-2 loss to the A's at Hohokam Stadium. The left-handed reliever didn't allow a run in the eighth inning, but he continued his late Spring Training swoon.

Brothers opened the inning with a quick out before issuing a four-pitch walk, and he then fell behind the next batter before coming back for a strikeout. He fell behind Oakland's Stephen Vogt before allowing a single and issuing another four-pitch walk to load the bases. A grounder to first got him out of the bases-loaded jam.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Butler exits start early with right shoulder fatigue

Rockies' No. 2 prospect allows one run in one inning against A's

Butler exits start early with right shoulder fatigue

MESA, Ariz. -- Rockies rotation candidate Eddie Butler left Monday's 11-2 loss to the A's with right shoulder fatigue, and he was scheduled to be evaluated later in the afternoon.

Butler, MLB.com's No. 2 Rockies prospect, was in the middle of an impressive spring. He entered Monday's start with a 2.63 ERA in four Cactus League outings (two starts), and he had a chance to further impress with another good outing.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies' Betancourt on verge of return to Majors

Reliever hasn't pitched in big leagues since having Tommy John surgery in 2013

Rockies' Betancourt on verge of return to Majors

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Realistically, it's been 12 springs since relief pitcher Rafael Betancourt has reached the final days of Spring Training wondering if he'll have a big league job. But in his mind, every spring is that way.

Betancourt, who hasn't pitched in the Majors since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2013, is under a Minor League contract that will become a $1 million deal with incentives if he makes the Opening Day roster. Betancourt has a 1.17 ERA in eight games, but he also faces stiff competition and an uncertainty whether the Rockies will go with seven or eight relievers.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Weiss hopes struggling outfielders can bounce back

Stubbs, Barnes have struggled throughout Rockies' Spring Training

Weiss hopes struggling outfielders can bounce back

MESA, Ariz. -- There comes a point when a player's performance becomes so perplexing that Rockies manager Walt Weiss or a coach will check in to make sure everything's OK.

The spring slumps of Drew Stubbs and Brandon Barnes have been noticed by the coaching staff, and Weiss is hoping the outfielders will turn it around in the final week of Spring Training as Colorado prepares for Opening Day.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies' Morneau, Descalso homer to down D-backs

Solo shots back Lyles' strong six-inning outing

Rockies' Morneau, Descalso homer to down D-backs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In his second game back from a right oblique injury, Daniel Descalso homered for the first time this spring to give the Rockies a 2-1 victory over the D-backs in a split-squad game Sunday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Descalso's start Saturday against the Cubs was his first appearance since March 14. The homer came off D-backs reliever Matt Reynolds to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh. Descalso's go-ahead hit came an inning after teammate Justin Morneau homered off Rubby De La Rosa to tie the game.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McBride's 2 HRs, 4 RBIs key Rockies in Mexico

Bergman roughed up; Ramos homers in 10th

HERMOSILLO, Mexico -- The D-backs and Rockies made sure to pack their bats for their day trip across the border.

The two teams combined for 29 hits as the Rockies outlasted the D-backs, 11-10, in 10 innings in front of a sellout crowd of approximately 16,000 at Estadio Sonora on a warm Sunday afternoon.

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Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gray hopes to turn negatives into positives

Young right-hander trying to learn from poor outing, move on from groin discomfort

Gray hopes to turn negatives into positives

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Saturday was painful for Rockies top prospect Jon Gray in more ways than one.

Not only did the right-handed Gray, the team's top Draft pick in 2013, manage just two outs during a seven-run (six earned) first inning against the Cubs, but he experienced pain in his right groin. Gray insisted Sunday that the soreness will not affect his next scheduled start. He needs to erase the hurt from his performance at a time when it seemed logical to pencil him in as the No. 2 starter.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Butler sees maturity as key to taking next step

Young right-hander revamped offseason routine

Butler sees maturity as key to taking next step

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Eddie Butler believes he has the stuff to pitch in the Majors, and he is intent on showing he can bridge the gap between stuff and success.

Butler, fighting for a spot in the season-opening rotation, could put up a strong argument on Monday afternoon, when he starts against the Athletics at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

CarGo not concerned about left knee day after exit

CarGo not concerned about left knee day after exit

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said the left knee soreness that forced him from Friday night's game was from fatigue. He doesn't anticipate any lasting issues.

Gonzalez underwent surgery last August to repair the patellar tendon in his left knee. Gonzalez was ready for Spring Training games sooner than expected, and has performed well (.333, three doubles in 27 at-bats entering play Saturday). He felt the soreness after chasing down a third-inning fly ball and making a throw during Friday night's 7-5 loss to the Padres, and left the game after his following at-bat.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies trim roster; decisions remain in 'pen, rotation

Rockies trim roster; decisions remain in 'pen, rotation

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The race is on for possible jobs in the Rockies' bullpen and starting rotation.

With the roster moves the Rockies announced Saturday morning, the bullpen is down to three pitchers -- non-roster veteran Rafael Betancourt, 2014 revelation Brooks Brown and prospect Scott Oberg -- seeking either one or two spots, depending on whether the Rockies go with five starting pitchers or four in the early regular-season days.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dickerson's early exit part of Rox day to forget vs. Cubs

Dickerson's early exit part of Rox day to forget vs. Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- Jake Arrieta belted a three-run homer in a seven-run first and added a RBI double in the second to lift the Cubs' split-squad to an 18-4 victory over the Rockies on Saturday.

Kris Bryant went 4-for-5 and scored three runs for the Cubs, who collected 21 hits in front of a sellout crowd of 15,266 at Sloan Park.

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Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Weiss: Important for Brothers to relax on mound

Weiss: Important for Brothers to relax on mound

MESA, Ariz. -- Rockies lefty reliever Rex Brothers' spring has taken a downward turn in his last two outings.

On Saturday, Brothers gave up two runs on one hit, one walk, a hit batter and a wild pitch during one inning of the Rockies' 18-4 loss to the split-squad Cubs. That performance followed a four-run, four-hit mess in two-thirds of an inning Thursday against the Rangers.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rox lefty De La Rosa not going to rush groin injury

Rox lefty De La Rosa not going to rush groin injury

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa, dealing with left groin tightness throughout the spring, graduated from playing catch to throwing long-toss Friday, with hopes of throwing a bullpen session next week.

De La Rosa left his only Cactus League start, on March 20, because of the groin issue, which had limited him to one "B" game prior. The gradual pace of healing and building his arm strength eliminates him from starting the April 10 home opener against the Cubs. De La Rosa said he will need to pitch in two to three games, most likely a combination of extended Spring Training and Minor League rehab games, to build his pitch count for the Majors.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gray confident he'll bounce back from rough outing

Gray confident he'll bounce back from rough outing

MESA, Ariz. -- Just when it seemed safe to pencil top right-handed prospect Jon Gray into the Rockies' season-opening rotation, he turned in a short, rough start Saturday against the Cubs.

Gray lasted just two-thirds of an inning and gave up seven runs (six earned) on four hits and a walk. There were two errors, but one came when Gray mishandled Addison Russell's bunt and let a run score. On a similar play later in the inning, Gray panicked when he didn't see first base covered and fumbled David Ross' bunt.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kendrick shows ability to battle through 'tough innings'

Weiss lauds Opening Day starter's intelligence, precision on mound

Kendrick shows ability to battle through 'tough innings'

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Kyle Kendrick has never been one to blow hitters away. There's a method to his pitching that involves putting the ball where it'll get hit -- but where it won't get hit hard.

In that vein, the Rockies signed Kendrick to be their version of an escape artist. Kendrick's style makes him prone to allowing hitters to reach base, but the club likes his ability to stay away from the big inning.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gonzalez exits game vs. Padres with sore left knee

Rockies right fielder had knee surgery in August

Gonzalez exits game vs. Padres with sore left knee

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez was removed from Friday's game against the Padres because of soreness in his surgically repaired left knee. Gonzalez called the injury "nothing serious" and will be re-evaluated in the morning.

Gonzalez, who had surgery on the knee Aug. 19, aggravated it after a catch-and-throw off a Will Middlebrooks fly ball in the bottom of the third. He finished the inning, and he batted in the top of the fourth before being removed in the middle of the frame.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kendrick labors vs. Padres as Opening Day approaches

Blackmon, LeMahieu fuel Rox offense, but San Diego rallies in eighth

Kendrick labors vs. Padres as Opening Day approaches

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Will Venable's opposite-field, two-run double in the eighth inning Friday lifted the Padres to a 7-5 victory over the Rockies in a Cactus League Game at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Before Venable's hit, projected Opening Day starters Kyle Kendrick and James Shields labored.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies' rotation for first week coming into focus

Rockies' rotation for first week coming into focus

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss still isn't ready to divulge his full rotation for the start of the season. But the club's pitching plans over the next few days could be an indication.

Colorado will follow Opening Day starter Kyle Kendrick -- who faces the Padres in Peoria Friday night -- with Jonathan Gray on Saturday and Jordan Lyles on Sunday. Assuming the three of them get one more Spring Training start on normal rest, that would line up the trio to pitch April 6-8 in Milwaukee.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After 'soul searching,' Barnes commits to new approach at plate

Despite spring struggles, outfielder expected to maintain roster spot

After 'soul searching,' Barnes commits to new approach at plate

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Brandon Barnes carried a sour taste in his mouth into the offseason last October. His .257/.293/.425 slash line was by no means terrible, but the Rockies outfielder never truly felt comfortable at the plate.

That meant it was time for some self-described "soul searching." Barnes made a drastic adjustment to his swing, adding a leg kick that he says will help with his timing. He also spent hours dissecting film of his own at-bats, trying to decipher his weak spots.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.