Rockies trot out glimpse of Opening Day lineup

PEORIA, Ariz. -- When the Rockies defeated the Padres, 6-3, on Wednesday, the fans in the stands got a good taste of what April baseball is likely to look like, as seven of the club's eight starting position players will likely wind up in the Opening Day lineup.

Ben Paulson started in right for regular Michael Cuddyer, and Todd Helton was missing, but Jordan Pacheco started at first, where he played 43 of his 132 games in 2012. Helton isn't expected to make his Cactus League debut until this weekend or thereabouts.

"It kind of just worked out that way today," manager Walt Weiss said of Wednesday's resemblance to an Opening Day lineup. "A bunch of them, it was their time to play. Typically you don't do that a lot on the road in Spring Training, but at this point in the spring, early on, it just happened to fall on their day, so we ran those guys out there."

The lineup featured the return of catcher Wilin Rosario, who hadn't played since Saturday's Cactus League opener. He came back with a bang, going 3-for-3 with a double.

Weiss also had shortstop Troy Tulowitzki back in the lineup. Tulowitzki has played every other day this spring as he works back from groin surgery, and he is showing his old defensive flair, turning a tough double play on an in-between hop and then making a quick heads-up play in the third inning to catch a lead runner at third, potentially saving a run in a close game.

"That's certainly an instinctive play," Weiss said, noting Tulowitzki's desire to get back to playing all aspects of his game without having to think about his injury. "He had his mind made up before the ball got to him that that's where the ball was going. He flipped his feet and got the throw off, and a nice throw. So far, so good, Tulo."

Weiss even had the luxury of pulling Eric Young Jr. off the bench in the eighth inning, watching him succeed with a bunt single and strengthen his case for ample time in the lineup.

"You got to find ways to get him at-bats," Weiss said. "He's a game-changer.

"It gives you a lot of options," Weiss said of the depth he's seeing. "Makes it tougher for me to make a bad move."