Friedrich to start opener for Rox Triple-A club

Friedrich to start opener for Rox Triple-A club

MILWAUKEE -- Lefty Christian Friedrich, who gave the Rockies encouraging work as a rookie starter last season before suffering a season-ending stress fracture in his lower back in July, will start for Triple-A Colorado Springs in its opener on Thursday against Reno at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Friedrich, 25, was expected to compete for a rotation spot with the big club but missed the first half of Spring Training with back spasms. He recovered, but not in time to seriously challenge for a job. He went 5-8 with a 6.17 ERA in 16 starts with the Rockies last season, after going 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in Colorado Springs.

The remainder of the rotation will be righty Tyler Chatwood, lefty Drew Pomeranz, lefty Nick Schmidt and veteran righty Aaron Cook.

Chatwood and Pomeranz saw significant time with the Rockies last season, and Pomeranz was in line to begin the year in the Majors before the Rockies signed veteran righty Jon Garland. Schmidt was a No. 1 Draft pick of the Padres (2007) who battled injuries before being traded to the Rockies for reliever Huston Street in December 2011.

Cook, 34, pitched for the Rockies from 2002-11 and is the club's leader in career wins and several other categories. He pitched for the Red Sox last season and was with the Phillies in Spring Training before requesting his release to rejoin the Rockies organization.

The Sky Sox will begin the year with an eight-game homestand April 4-11.

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.