PHOENIX -- Pitchers Tyler Chatwood, Josh Outman and Christian Friedrich, all of whom came to Rockies Spring Training hoping to earn a rotation spot, or at least break camp with the big club, were among nine players the team sent to Minor League camp on Sunday.
Also among those being sent out of camp were righty prospect Rob Scahill, who was impressive while compiling a 1.35 spring ERA as he converts from starter to reliever; and outfielder Charlie Blackmon, who was hoping to force his way into a crowded outfield but missed much of the first half of camp with an infection in his right knee.
Other camp cuts were catcher Gustavo Molina, first baseman Ben Paulsen and outfielder Corey Dickerson. Additionally, the club returned Rule 5 Draft pick Danny Rosenbaum, a left-handed pitcher, to the Nationals to make room for free-agent righty Jon Garland, who was expected to make his signing official on Sunday afternoon.
All of the cuts, except for Molina, Paulsen and Dickerson, are members of the Rockies' 40-man roster.
The moves narrow the competition for three middle-relief roles and starting spots.
The back end of the bullpen is set, with closer Rafael Betancourt, righty setup men Matt Belisle and Wilton Lopez, and lefty setup man Rex Brothers. Still in the mix for middle-relief roles are righties Adam Ottavino and Edgmer Escalona, who are on the 40-man Major League roster, as well as non-roster invitees Manny Corpas, Miguel Batista and Chris Volstad.
Ottavino was effective in middle relief last year and is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA and one save this spring. Escalona, who is out of Minor League options and can't be sent down without being exposed to other clubs via waivers, has a 1.29 ERA in six appearances covering seven innings. Corpas, the team's closer during its World Series run in 2007 before elbow injuries reduced his effectiveness, has a 3.86 ERA in six spring appearances. Volstad, originally in the starter competition, has a 2.00 ERA in four Cactus League games.
Chatwood, who bounced between the Rockies and the Minors last season, was 1-1 with a 6.16 ERA with 13 strikeouts and 13 walks in six spring games. Outman was 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA and a .172 batting average against in six Cactus League games. Friedrich missed much of camp a back tightness and is 1-0 with a 10.80 ERA in two games.
The Rockies are down to 36 players in Major League camp, including nine non-roster invitees, and must be down to 25 active players by the April 1 home opener at Milwaukee.
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.