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 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.

Filling in admirably, Bettis aces audition

Filling in admirably, Bettis aces audition

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Rockies sent right-hander Chad Bettis to Minor League camp on Sunday, but after they released Jhoulys Chacin and learned that David Hale's left oblique injury would cost him Thursday night's start against the Rangers, Bettis had another audition.

Bettis acquitted himself well, giving up two runs -- on a Leonys Martin homer -- but allowing no further runs and striking out four against three hits.

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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: Roster decisions to be based on early games

Weiss: Roster decisions to be based on early games

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Manager Walt Weiss said that the makeup of the Opening Day roster is still unsettled with a little more than a week left in Spring Training.

The next several days will determine whether the Rockies will begin the season with five starting pitchers or four (they don't need a fifth until April 14), or eight relievers or seven. About all that's known is that the bench will have to be versatile; the ability of catcher Wilin Rosario to play first base, for example, will be key.

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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' rally falls short after Bettis' fine start

Rockies' rally falls short after Bettis' fine start

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Leonys Martin hit a two-run home run in the third, Nick Martinez pitched six scoreless innings and the Rangers defeated the Rockies, 6-3, on Thursday night.

Rockies starter Chad Bettis allowed two runs in four innings. He only allowed three hits, but he hung a 1-2 curveball to Martin, who hit it out to right-center for his second home run of the spring. Reliever Rex Brothers, who entered with a 1.50 ERA in five games, struggled, allowing four runs in the eighth inning, on a pair of singles, a double and a wild pitch.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Move to 'pen has been the difference for Friedrich

Move to 'pen has been the difference for Friedrich

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Lefty Christian Friedrich is rounding into the form the Rockies unlocked last season, when they moved him to the bullpen.

Friedrich gave up his first run of the spring during a two-inning stint in the Rockies' 5-1 victory over the Giants on Wednesday. But he hit his stride with his slider -- the pitch that was instrumental in his fashioning a 1.64 ERA in 13 relief appearances. He had a 9.45 ERA in his three starts before the Rockies made the conversion.

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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.

Oberg, Roberts taking every opportunity to impress

Oberg, Roberts taking every opportunity to impress

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Scott Oberg and lefty Ken Roberts entered Spring Training as non-roster afterthoughts, with neither having pitched above Double-A. Yet they're still with the club with a little more than a week left.

Unless there is a dramatic onslaught of injuries to the expected bullpen members, it's doubtful either will break camp with the club. But each outing is a chance to impress, which could make them candidates for in-season callups.

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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's strong start backed by Tulo's homer

Rotation hopeful allows one run in five innings; Arenado adds RBI double

Butler's strong start backed by Tulo's homer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Wednesday's Giants-Rockies Cactus League game featured two starters working on both ends of the career spectrum: rookie right-hander Eddie Butler is still vying for a spot in Colorado's starting rotation and veteran Giants right-hander Tim Hudson is trying to begin what he says is his final season in good health.

Butler made a case for himself by pitching five innings of one-run, five-hit ball in Colorado's 5-2 victory. Hudson pitched three perfect innings before allowing Troy Tulowitzki's two-run homer and Nolan Arenado's RBI double in the fourth. Tulowitzki had two hits against Hudson, including a sixth-inning single.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Amazing' Betancourt battling for Rockies roster spot

Reliever tosses second scoreless outing since getting hit with line drive

'Amazing' Betancourt battling for Rockies roster spot

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Six days after being hit in the jaw by a line drive, ageless reliever Rafael Betancourt took another major step along the comeback trail by pitching a scoreless eighth inning for the Rockies on Wednesday in their 5-2 win over the Giants at Salt River Fields.

"You try to not put that kind of thing in your head," Betancourt said Wednesday. "It's part of the game."

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies send Kahnle to Minor League camp

Colorado seeking consistency from reliever, who appeared in 54 games last season

Rockies send Kahnle to Minor League camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Tommy Kahnle has been optioned by the Colorado Rockies to Minor League camp, the club announced Wednesday after defeating the Giants, 5-2, at Salt River Fields.

A pickup from the Yankees in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft, Kahnle, 25, remained with the Rockies all last season and worked 54 games in relief, compiling a 2-1 record, 4.19 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rehabbing Descalso, Culberson to see Minors action

Injured Rockies infielders slated for four innings, multiple at-bats

Rehabbing Descalso, Culberson to see Minors action

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies infielders Daniel Descalso and Charlie Culberson were to begin their injury comebacks Wednesday by playing four innings and being the first two batters each inning in a Minor League game.

Descalso has missed time with a right oblique strain and is the Rockies' primary utility infielder. Culberson's bulging disk in his lower back has severely limited his shot at a utility role.

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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.

Stubbs eyes timing as reason for surge in K's

Rockies outfielder feels mechanics are fine, looking for simple fix

Stubbs eyes timing as reason for surge in K's

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The strikeouts are coming in bunches for Rockies outfielder Drew Stubbs, but he has pinpointed the root of the issue.

Stubbs, who has power and speed but also struggles with strikeouts, has fanned 17 times this spring, including eight in his last three games entering Wednesday. But Stubbs also has two home runs, and his six walks have him at a .359 on-base percentage, which actually is above the career-high .339 he established in 132 games with the Rockies last season.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Ring ceremony at Rox camp honors members of AFL's Rafters

Ring ceremony at Rox camp honors members of AFL's Rafters

So many wonderful aspects of the Arizona Fall League help make the two-month competition among the best and most cherished developmental experiences in professional baseball. Players, coaches and umpires not only hone their skills, they engage in true and sincere relationship-building.

I was fortunate to witness one of the unique traditions of the AFL during a pregame ceremony at Salt River Fields on Wednesday.

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Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

De La Rosa appears headed to disabled list

Left-hander limited by left-groin tightness

De La Rosa appears headed to disabled list

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa isn't scheduled for bullpen sessions and is all but certain to be bound for the disabled list to begin the regular season with recurring left-groin tightness. That means the identity of the starting pitcher for the April 10 home opener against the Cubs is uncertain.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss said Tuesday he is not prepared to make such an announcement. But De La Rosa, who has made just two starts this spring -- one in a "B" game, the other Friday, when he left with the injury -- is limited to playing catch.

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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.

Six-run fifth, Bergman lock up Rockies' win

Down 4, offense rallies; righty works 4 scoreless

Six-run fifth, Bergman lock up Rockies' win

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- In a battle of big innings, the Rockies won out with a 7-6 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday at Camelback Ranch.

Colorado scored six runs in the fifth off of John Danks and Matt Albers, with three of those runs being earned, to counter Chicago, which scored five unearned runs in the fourth off of Jordan Lyles.

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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. Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.