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Notes: Redman, Towers hit hard

Notes: Redman, Towers hit hard

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Rockies found some length in their pitching arms in Peoria on Thursday, using three hurlers to go the distance against the Padres. But as Mark Redman and Josh Towers tried to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack of contenders vying for a spot in the rotation, their efforts were tarnished by a combined 18 hits and 10 runs.

Put too much stock in numbers, and you're likely to have Redman and Towers on the wrong side of the separation they're striving for. But Redman and Towers are both pitchers who rely on location, and it's a bit of a reach to expect consistent location early in Spring Training.

"With location pitchers, it's just a matter of repetition, facing hitters time and again," Redman said. "Just get your work in and go from there. I can't expect it to be there ready to go every time I take the mound."

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Coming into Thursday, Redman had pitched five innings over two outings of scoreless Cactus League ball, while Towers had only allowed a run in his five innings.

Redman's struggle Thursday came with an ineffective cutter that sat over the plate as easy prey for the Padres to pounce on. He was touched for six runs on 10 hits while striking out four in three innings, and it was in the third when things got ugly, as a good half dozen balls were hit hard to left and right field for a four-run, five-hit barrage.

"I'm fighting for a spot in the rotation, but then again, I think they know what I can do," Redman said. "They know that I rely on my pitches working and location, getting in the strike zone, ahead of the count.

"Times when I've got two strikes or I get behind, I tend to like to throw the cutter, but the cutter wasn't doing anything but just spinning today. I had some good backdoor cutters, but inside they were just spinning. When they do that they just go right low and in and it's easy to handle that pitch. Especially after you go four seam inside and try cutting back with a cutter and it's not doing anything. They were hitting those pretty good today."

For Towers, it was a mixture of hard luck and poor location, resulting in four runs on eight hits over three innings.

"Some ground balls were mishit and found some spots, and they squared some balls up," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It was more of the same. He's another guy that relies upon location, and when location isn't executed, when it's not down and he's not pitching off the middle of the plate, it's a challenge. He's a touch and feel guy.

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Hurdle is not concerned that no one has made a compelling case for either of the two starting spots yet, and he remains confident that the team will be strong at the back of the rotation.

"What it's done is reestablish that pack mentality," he said. "There's not a lot of separation. They're all just working to find their own comfort zones and repeat their deliveries and get better as we all move forward."

Neither Redman nor Towers walked a man, indicating their control problems were more a matter of finding too much of the plate rather than trouble throwing strikes.

Tulo vs. Peavy: Troy Tulowitzki entered Thursday's game tied for the Cactus League lead in long balls, and with Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy on the mound in a rematch of the October 1 Wild Card tiebreaker game in which Tulo struck out, singled, doubled, and tripled against Peavy, the "mano-a-mano" competition heated up quickly.

Tulo took a Peavy fastball deep in the first inning, giving the Rockies an early lead, but struck out looking in his only other appearance against the Padres ace.

"I have a lot of respect for him," Tulowitzki said of Peavy. "You talk about a guy that competes -- I always like to face him, because I consider myself one of those hitters that competes with the best of them, so when you get me and him in the box, I think it's two competitive guys going at it. I got the best of him the first at-bat, and he gave it right back to me the second at-bat and struck me out on three pitches. He's good."

Herges shines: Reliever Matt Herges was stretched out to two innings on Thursday, and it was his best outing of the spring, blanking the Padres and holding them hitless while walking one and striking out two.

"The key for me is getting the ball down, and I did that today," Herges said. "The other previous two outings I did not. When my ball's up, it's not good, no matter how you slice it."

Herges was happy for the extended innings, hinting that it could be a regular expectation for him to show some length out of the 'pen.

"That could be my role this year," he said. "I could go two-plus. Shoot, I'm in no position to tell them when I can pitch. You give me the ball, I'll go as long as I can, as long as you want me to go."

B-Rocks: Jeff Francis threw four scoreless innings in a "B" game with the White Sox on Thursday morning. Francis gave up two hits and two walks while striking one in the 6-4 victory. Ramon Ramirez tossed a scoreless inning in relief. At the plate, Todd Helton went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and Willy Taveras hit a two-run homer.

Up next: Right-hander Aaron Cook earned a ticket to start in Surprise on Friday at 1:05 p.m. MT, followed by Kip Wells, Luis Vizcaino, Alberto Arias, lefty Josh Newman, and Darren Clarke. Among the Royals pitchers will be Brian Bannister and Kyle Davies.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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