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Finally healthy, Friedrich looks to win roster spot

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Christian Friedrich finds he needs to hone his mind as much as his arm as he tries to rebound from missing the first half of Spring Training with a lower back issue.

Friedrich went 5-8 with a 6.17 ERA in 16 starts as a rookie last season before a stress fracture in his back ended his season in July. He sought to win a rotation job this year, but back stiffness set in just before camp.

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Finally healthy, Friedrich has pitched twice for five total innings and has given up six runs and three homers. On Friday, the Giants' Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt took him deep, and Friedrich gave up four runs and five hits in three innings of the Rockies' 11-6 loss. Friedrich didn't figure in the decision.

With lefty Drew Pomeranz pitching better with each outing and righty Tyler Chatwood putting up competition for the rotation, it appears Friedrich is more likely headed to Triple-A Colorado Springs to start the season. Between now and then, Friedrich believes he has enough time to prepare to compete.

"Health-wise, everything is 100 percent, but I've got to get back into the rhythm and timing of it," Friedrich said. "It's a little different pace out there and I may have gotten ahead of myself on some hitters, thinking too far ahead of myself instead of a pitch at a time. I've got to work on slowing it down and getting back to execution.

"It's executing the first four pitches in the at-bat instead of having to battle my way back and make it a fastball count."

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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