Four more crack Opening Day roster

Four more crack Rockies Opening Day roster

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Colorado Rockies were dealing handshakes and roster spots on Wednesday afternoon, but all left-handed reliever Tom Martin dealt was more anxiety for himself.

Martin gave up two ninth-inning runs and three hits in Colorado's 10-6 victory over Arizona. Just one ball was hit hard, but it was a two-run double by left-handed-hitting Jesus Cota -- a Minor League version of the type of hitter that Martin is expected to vanquish. Martin is scheduled to pitch again on Friday, when he'll try to treat it like just another game.

"You think of anything other than that, you'll drive yourself crazy," said Martin, 35. "This is my 10th big-league camp, and it's been that way for eight out of those 10 years. It pretty much came to the end, either making it or not making it."

Martin and Jaime Cerda are in the same boat. They're competing with one another but not pitching well enough to keep the Rockies from looking to acquire someone else. Several other Rockies don't have to worry. In a flurry of moves on Wednesday:

• Manager Clint Hurdle told four players that they've made the Opening Day roster: Veteran utilitymen Eli Marrero and Jamey Carroll, outfielder Choo Freeman and infielder Jason Smith.

Marrero will be the primary right-handed pinch-hitter and can play five positions -- including catcher. Carroll will serve as the Rockies primary infield backup.

Freeman came to camp out of options and impressed the whole time. The longtime prospect will serve as a backup in left and center. Smith, who entered camp as a non-roster candidate, is a left-handed hitter who plays all infield positions.

Freeman said he entered camp with confidence.

"I just really just trusted my ability and trusted the work I put in during the offseason every year I played," said Freeman, who could challenge for starts if he hits like he has this spring (.340). "I feel like every year I've played, I've gotten better. I felt like it was going to pay off sooner or later."

Smith, who has played with the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay, sweated the decision even though he has batted .333 this spring.

"Anytime you get called into the manager's office, it's usually not a good sign," he said. "I went in and he said, 'Take a deep breath. You're going to break with the club.'"

• Hurdle also announced that infielder Josh Wilson (broken toe) will join right-handed reliever Chin-hui Tsao (recovering from shoulder surgery) on the 60-day disabled list, and right-handers Byung-Hyun Kim (strained right hamstring) and Scott Dohmann (viral infection), and first baseman Ryan Shealy (right elbow strain) will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list.

• The decisions mean that infielder Omar Quintanilla and outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, both of whom made impressions in the playing time they received, will begin the season at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

"With Quintanilla, he showed up and for me he had a wonderful spring," Hurdle said. "Defensively, the kid can play. Offensively, he squared the ball up as much as anybody did with the at-bats that he had. He had a lot of hard outs. We just want to get him down there to pack a bunch of at-bats together, see where that takes him.

"Spilborghs isn't on the roster and he showed up and had a very good spring. Choo's earned this opportunity, and Ryno understands that completely. He's just going to keep after his game. We'll ask him to get involved in our program here."

Still hanging are pitching decisions at the back of the starting rotation and the bullpen.

One bullpen spot is more than likely to go to right-hander David Cortes. Hurdle did not address his status because he had not talked to him. That would leave two relief spots, one most likely to go to a starting pitcher.

One relief job and the fifth-starter role are dependent upon status of Sun-Woo Kim's sore right hamstring. Kim threw a 64-pitch simulated game on Wednesday, but he will be tested in fielding drills on Thursday before the Rockies make decisions.

Byung-Hyun Kim's injury means righty Zach Day will be the No. 4 starter. Sun-Woo Kim and Josh Fogg, who pitches on Thursday against the Chicago White Sox at Tucson Electric Park, are the choices for the No. 5 starter and the long-relief role.

As for the final bullpen job, Martin (2-0, 3.38 ERA this spring) and Cerda (1-0, 2.31 ERA), who has struggled with walks, have not brought the Rockies closer to a decision. Martin is under a Minor League contract and Cerda is out of Minor League options and would have to be exposed to other teams through waivers if the Rockies want to send him to Colorado Springs.

The Rockies want them to win a job before worrying about contract status.

"We're looking for better separation," Hurdle said of the competition. "We're not getting it. We're just going to have to make a real good decision here. The injuries have provided these guys with an equal opportunity. I'm not wedded to a left-hander. We'll see what happens the next 48 hours."

If it helps, Martin has had to sweat out even tougher springs, like the one in 2003.

"[The Dodgers] told me Opening Day that I'd made it," he recalled. "We went to L.A. and had an exhibition game, something like that, and then they still hadn't told me anything. They carried us [roster candidates] to Arizona for Opening Day, which is where they told me.

"I don't know what the factors were. All I know was it was nerve-racking. But all you can do is just keep pitching."

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