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Nicasio sees progress despite tough outing


TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio had an eventful, but ultimately productive 3 2/3 innings on the mound Saturday against the Angels.

Nicasio fanned Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the first inning and erased Howie Kendrick with a pickoff move. He also gave up three runs in the second, two on Peter Bourjos' triple. Nicasio yielded a prodigious homer to Pujols in the third on a sinker that Nicasio felt was in a good location.

But Nicasio, trying to show he has more weapons than his fastball, saw progress with his slider and his changeup, which made the mixed bag -- four runs on seven hits but three strikeouts against one walk -- an overall positive.

"I'm feeling good with my changeup, and I threw a lot of sliders. I felt good because I didn't hang a lot of those," Nicasio said. "If I can get my slider over the plate more, I'll be OK."

After the Pujols homer, Nicasio reacted with frustration when Josh Hamilton hit a slider hard to deep center, but it stayed in the park.

"I hung the slider, and I thought home run when he hit the ball. He's a good hitter and he's got power," Nicasio said.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss was happy that Nicasio was willing to attack his weaknesses.

"It's such an electric arm," Weiss said. "He's developing command of his secondary stuff. But the life on his fastball gives him some breathing room with his other stuff.

"He threw his fastball to some pretty darn good hitters."

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

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