Rockies play it safe, push back De La Rosa's debut

Starter feeling 'really good' despite groin tightness

Rockies play it safe, push back De La Rosa's debut

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa will skip his first Spring Training start, scheduled for Saturday, because of left groin tightness. He'll start on his next regular turn, Thursday against the Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park.

"It's precaution," De La Rosa said. "That's all it is. I feel really good today."

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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.

Tulowitzki trying to simulate game action

Shortstop testing surgically repaired hip with extensive workouts

Tulowitzki trying to simulate game action

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The days on the practice diamonds at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick are packed for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. While teammates are playing Cactus League games in front of sunning fans, Tulowitzki is manufacturing game situations at the plate, on the field and on the bases to test the left hip labrum that was surgically repaired in August.

"I'm trying to put myself in game situations with all the things that I'm doing so that something doesn't sneak up on me that I haven't done before," Tulowitzki said Friday morning. "There are a lot of situations in a game that happen, and there are only so many days to work on those. I can't just throw them into one big session."

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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: Key to success is 'less pressure, more work'

CarGo: Key to success is 'less pressure, more work'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Standout outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is helping drive the Rockies' optimism in the face of experts' predictions of a second-division finish. And Gonzalez isn't even slowing down to wonder what will happen if the Rockies struggle once again.

Gonzalez is healthy after ending last season early for left knee surgery. These bright Spring Training days see Troy Tulowitzki building strength after left hip labrum surgery, and Justin Morneau, Corey Dickerson, Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon coming off fine full offensive seasons, plus Arenado and DJ LeMahieu dusting off their trophy cases for Rawlings Gold Glove Awards. But if the Rockies can't win with all those guys, do they start jettisoning folks at the non-waiver Trade Deadline or before?

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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.

Pain-free start good news for Chacin, Rockies

Righty feels fine after tossing 1 2/3 innings vs. Arizona

Pain-free start good news for Chacin, Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Leaving the mound without pain made Thursday afternoon a success for Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin. He'll worry about sharpness as Spring Training continues.

Rotator cuff and labrum damage limited Chacin to 11 starts last season. In his 2015 Cactus League debut on Thursday afternoon against the D-backs, Chacin gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings. It was his first game action since last June 28, when he gave up 11 hits and seven runs in 5 2/3 innings of a loss at Milwaukee.

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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 get mixed bag on mound vs. D-backs

Chacin has strong first inning, Butler struggles through two

Rockies get mixed bag on mound vs. D-backs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs starter Trevor Cahill debuted his new mechanics for the first time in a game and pitched well, allowing two hits and one walk over two scoreless innings as the Rockies lost, 4-3, Thursday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Cahill, who struggled mightily last year and is competing for a spot in the rotation, has tweaked his mechanics to throw more over the top in hopes of improving his command.

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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.

Situational hitting among Rockies' batting practice tweaks

Situational hitting among Rockies' batting practice tweaks

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies second-year hitting coach Blake Doyle has tweaked the team's batting practice in an attempt to correct poor situational hitting -- a fault that showed up on the road, where the Rockies went a franchise-worst 21-60 last season.

The home-road discrepancy has been a problem throughout the life of the franchise and will continue to be. The Rockies have more playoff appearances (three) than winning seasons on the road (41-40 in 2009). Last year, the Rockies led the National League in batting average and runs, but still languished on the road and in the standings. So the key, according to Doyle, is squeezing out more runs with the low number of scoring opportunities the team will always have on the road.

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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.

Speedy Barnes eyeing consistency for Rockies

Outfielder led bigs with 17 pinch-hits in 2014

Speedy Barnes eyeing consistency for Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes vows to be a smarter hitter, even after leading the Majors with 17 pinch-hits last season.

"There were times when I just went up there to swing, and that's not very smart," said Barnes, who hit .279 in 61 pinch-hit at-bats, but .257 with a .293 on-base percentage overall.

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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.

Lyles looks good in Rockies' Cactus League opener

Righty delivers two scoreless innings; top prospect Gray hits 97 mph in sharp outing

Lyles looks good in Rockies' Cactus League opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In the Cactus League opener for both teams, D-backs catching prospect Peter O'Brien went 2-for-3 with an RBI in a 6-2 victory over the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon in front of 6,780 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

D-backs starter Rubby De La Rosa, who is battling for a rotation spot, tossed an impressive two shutout innings on his 26th birthday. The right-hander, acquired from the Red Sox in the Wade Miley deal, allowed one hit and struck out two.

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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.

Prospect Gray brings heat in scoreless Spring Training debut

Prospect Gray brings heat in scoreless Spring Training debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After a year of learning how to pitch without top-end velocity, Rockies right-hander Jon Gray enjoyed bringing the heat Wednesday.

Gray threw scoreless third and fourth innings against the D-backs in the Cactus League opener. But the talk of the day was one pitch -- a strikeout of Paul Goldschmidt on a 97 mph, 1-2 fastball to end the third.

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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 firmly believes he'll become great hitter

Rockies outfielder says he's constantly thinking about ways to improve at the plate

Dickerson firmly believes he'll become great hitter

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson uses the word "great" without timidity. That's not as common as one would think. Once someone understands what the g-word means in baseball, a sport built on failure, there is a tendency to wipe the word from the ol' vocabulary.

Dickerson hit .312 last year in 478 plate appearances -- just under the threshold to be listed among the league leaders (he would've been fourth, seven points behind teammate and National League batting champion Justin Morneau). He also led the Rockies with 24 home runs and finished with a .567 slugging percentage (six triples, 27 doubles).

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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.

Blackmon talks fireball gif, other topics on Chatting Cage

Rockies outfielder also discusses tense conclusion of '14 Spring Training

Blackmon talks fireball gif, other topics on Chatting Cage

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Before fashioning one of baseball's hottest starts in April and May and before being chosen by peers to the National League All-Star Game in July, Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon was nervous about even making the team last year.

Blackmon hit .236 with seven strikeouts in 55 at-bats last spring, and the stats didn't offer evidence to back manager Walt Weiss' faith in him as the team's leadoff hitter. But, answering a question during his appearance in the Edward Jones Chatting Cage on Wednesday, Blackmon said the tense end of 2014 camp wound up his favorite Spring Training memory.

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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.

Prospect Butler out to make strong second impression

Rockies righty set for spring debut, over shoulder issue that hindered him in first callup

Prospect Butler out to make strong second impression

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- This time, right-hander Eddie Butler plans to be healthy and effective when the Rockies call his name.

Butler's throwing shoulder wasn't right, and he knew it, when the Rockies summoned him to the Majors from Double-A Tulsa last June. Butler went to the disabled list immediately after his debut because of a rotator cuff strain. He didn't return until the final week of the season, when he made two starts.

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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.

Brown has solid fastball, but changeup's his bread and butter

Brown has solid fastball, but changeup's his bread and butter

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For all the Spring Training talk about the velocity the Rockies have at their disposal, righty Brooks Brown -- the team's best reliever at the end of last season -- stymied hitters softly.

Brown, 29, who joined the Rockies before last season and made his debut after pitching for the D-backs (2006-08), the Tigers (2009-12) and the Pirates (2013) showed a respectable fastball last season, at a 94.4 mph average. But he repeatedly sent hitters -- especially those in the middle of the order -- to the dugout frustrated over not being able to time a changeup that fluttered in at 85.6 mph.

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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.

Improving bullpen performance is Topic 'A' for Rockies

Improving bullpen performance is Topic 'A' for Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Last season's stat sheet offers the Rockies' bullpen an easy scapegoat. Starters threw just 905 1/3 innings, the lowest total in the Majors. That left relievers having to eat 525 2/3 innings, the third-highest amount in MLB. But these are the type of numbers that Rockies right-handed bullpen sage LaTroy Hawkins throws right out of the window.

"There is truth to that, but we've got to have the mindset of no excuses," Hawkins said. "Our team wasn't as bad as our bullpen. It's tough when the offense is putting in five or six runs a night and we have the lead in the seventh, eighth and ninth, and we -- I say we -- give it up. We have to do a better job as a unit. I don't care how many innings we have to log."

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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.

For Rockies, developing versatility key part of approach

For Rockies, developing versatility key part of approach

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In the Rockies' world, a player may need to move around to move up.

Rockies shortstop prospect Trevor Story started Tuesday's intrasquad game at second base, and later moved to third. Switch-hitting prospect Rosell Herrera has played 438 Minor League games, with all his defensive appearances at shortstop or third base. But he started in center field Tuesday. Story split last season between Class A Modesto and Double-A Tulsa, and Herrera spent the year at Modesto. But by increasing versatility, both could make themselves Major League options by year's end.

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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.

Rosario shows athleticism in work at first base

Rosario shows athleticism in work at first base

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Playing first base under game conditions went fine for the Rockies' Wilin Rosario on Tuesday.

Rosario, a catcher who could increase his playing time by being adequate at first base, made two error-saving plays in one inning. On a pickoff move from pitcher John Lannan, Rosario leaped over baserunner Matt McBride to keep the ball from sailing into foul ground. He also made a nice pickup of a pickoff attempt from catcher Michael McKenry.

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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.

Ynoa comes out swinging in Rox intrasquad action

Ynoa comes out swinging in Rox intrasquad action

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Switch-hitting utility man Rafael Ynoa homered and made a diving play at third base in Tuesday's Rockies intrasquad game. The performance continued a habit of capitalizing on chances since joining the team last year.

Ynoa, 27, was in the Dodgers' system from 2006-13 without a callup. After joining the Rockies last winter and producing at Triple-A Colorado Springs (.297, .356 OBP), Ynoa parlayed his Major League debut into a .343 average with six doubles and a triple in 19 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.

Weiss: Tulo, CarGo ahead of schedule

Weiss: Tulo, CarGo ahead of schedule

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The comebacks of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez from season-ending surgeries in 2014 have accelerated to the point that both could be in Cactus League games sooner than expected.

Both players ran the bases Monday morning before rain began falling and the Rockies were forced inside for workouts.

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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.

LeMahieu made speed a focus during offseason

Gold Glove winner hopes to be more of a menace on base in 2015

LeMahieu made speed a focus during offseason

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu's offseason work on his speed already is showing dividends.

"We were doing sprints early in the offseason and by February I was much, much faster," LeMahieu said. "We'll see how that translates, but I accomplished my goal."

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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 not too concerned over setting Rockies lineup

Manager knows he has plenty of strong options from top to bottom

Weiss not too concerned over setting Rockies lineup

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss doesn't see the big deal in setting a lineup. But that may have to do with his options.

For all their faults last season, the Rockies led the National League in runs and batting average despite missing Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Michael Cuddyer and Nolan Arenado for large chunks of time. With the stars healthy (only Cuddyer, who signed with the Mets, is gone), and Corey Dickerson, Drew Stubbs and Charlie Blackmon coming off strong years, Weiss believes he doesn't have to lock into one lineup.

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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.

Chacin feels good after facing Rockies hitters

Chacin feels good after facing Rockies hitters

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin's health was intact, even if his sharpness came late, on Saturday while facing hitters for 38 pitches.

Chacin said on Sunday that he wasn't feeling pain and could continue his preparation with an eye toward being on 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.

Weiss sets pitching plan for Cactus openers

Weiss sets pitching plan for Cactus openers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss announced that right-hander Jordan Lyles will start against the D-backs in Wednesday's Cactus League opener at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Other schedule starters this week are righty Jhoulys Chacin on Thursday against the D-backs, righty Kyle Kendrick on Friday vs. the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium, and lefty Jorge De La Rosa on Saturday at home against the Cubs.

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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 add ground-ball pitching to combat Coors Field

Additions of Hale, Kendrick boost pitching staff

Rockies add ground-ball pitching to combat Coors Field

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- New Rockies pitcher David Hale was initially nervous after learning he was traded to Colorado this offseason.

His reservations were understandable. Hale was leaving behind the pitcher-friendly confines of Turner Field in Atlanta to pitch in a hitter's paradise at Coors Field.

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Ari Kaye is a graduate student in the journalism masters program at Arizona State University. This story is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs, Rockies unveil newly renovated Lehi Field

D-backs, Rockies unveil newly renovated Lehi Field

MESA, Ariz. -- When Deanna Scabby was a young infielder, the lights at Lehi Ballfield were so dim that families would park their cars around the outside of the field and shine headlights at home plate so games could continue after dark.

On Sunday, Scabby stood before members of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and her fellow Lehi District Council Representatives as a field dedication took place for the newly renovated diamond located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

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Josh Rawitch is the senior vice president of communications for the D-backs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Axford seeks career comeback in Colorado

Rockies add veteran closer in effort to improve struggling 'pen

Axford seeks career comeback in Colorado

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The stats of the Rockies' bullpen last year didn't match the talents of the team's pitchers. In right-hander John Axford, they added a veteran who knows there is happiness on the other side.

Axford, who turns 32 on April 1, led the National League in saves with 46 for a 2011 Brewers team that went to the League Championship Series. But in 2012 he was part of a 'pen that led the league in blown saves.

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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.

Bergman finds extra motivation as Rox add rotation depth

Weiss impressed by veteran's return from broken hand last season

Bergman finds extra motivation as Rox add rotation depth

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Christian Bergman chose to improve his pitches this winter, not sharpen a chip on his shoulder.

Bergman overcame the obscurity of being a 24th-round pick out of University of California, Irvine in 2010 by excelling at every level and breaking into the Majors last season. Bergman went 3-5 with a 5.93 ERA in 10 starts in a debut season interrupted for two months by a broken left hand.

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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 'very encouraged' by Tulowitzki, Gonzalez in camp

Weiss says pair won't be rushed to see game action in return from injuries

Rockies 'very encouraged' by Tulowitzki, Gonzalez in camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It's just two days, but any two with Rockies stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez on the field without pain are good ones.

Manager Walt Weiss said Tulowitzki, who had a torn hip labrum repaired last August, and Gonzalez, who had left knee surgery in the same month, will begin running the bases next week -- earlier than later, if all goes well.

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Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rockies' Foster takes personal approach

New pitching coach made offseason visits to players to get to know Colorado's staff

Rockies' Foster takes personal approach

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies lefty relief pitcher Rex Brothers had quite a bit to fix this offseason, after an ineffective 2014. So he was happy that new pitching coach Steve Foster wanted to start the process this winter by visiting him for dinner at his Tennessee home.

The day after dining with Foster and Rockies peak performance coordinator Andy McKay, Brothers and his younger sibling, Colorado righty prospect Hunter Brothers, pitched in front of the new coach. Would there be a magic tip to make his 5.59 ERA form of 2014 go away and his 1.74 ERA dominance in 2013 return?

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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.