Rockies evaluate Arenado after big performance

Rockies evaluate Arenado after big performance

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rockies third-base prospect Nolan Arenado, who hit four home runs early in Cactus League play but had scuffled for hits recently, went 3-for-4 Tuesday as a designated hitter to lift his spring average to .314.

Incumbent third baseman Chris Nelson has a .238 average after steadily working his way up from a slow start.

Arenado, who turns 22 in April, is trying to make the leap from Double-A to the starting lineup.

"Nolan needs to keep a good pace, slow the game down," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's done a nice job this spring. It's good to see him get a few more hits."

One concern in evaluating Arenado is his spot in the batting order. With adequate power throughout the lineup, a lineup that includes Nelson would have him batting eighth. For a young power hitter, hitting ahead of the pitcher could be a challenge, because teams will entice him to chase pitches.

"It's a tough spot to hit in, so it would depend on who's in the lineup with him," Weiss said. "We're still a ways from that."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for 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.