Nicasio, Chatwood filling in impressively for Chacin

Nicasio, Chatwood filling in impressively for Chacin

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Sunday was a good day for two right-handers the Rockies are hoping to get early-season contributions from.

Tyler Chatwood and Juan Nicasio -- who will bump up to Colorado's Nos. 3 and 4 starters, respectively, until Jhoulys Chacin (shoulder strain) returns -- each threw scoreless outings in the Rockies' 10-1 win over the Royals at Surprise Stadium.

Nicasio started and turned in his second shutout performance of the spring, allowing one hit, walking one and striking out three in four innings. He said he was pleased with how he was able to attack down in the zone with all of his pitches.

The biggest reason Nicasio has been able to keep the ball down this spring is health. Last season, he was still dealing with the aftermath of 2012 arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. Now "100 percent" healthy, Nicasio can land on his left leg with no worry of experiencing discomfort, which has helped with his confidence.

"I'm feeling comfortable and that's why my breaking ball is sharp now," he said.

Manager Walt Weiss said Nicasio's trust in his breaking stuff is noticeably different from last season.

"That's exactly it," Weiss said. "We've got to encourage him to keep throwing that and gain confidence in that. But his secondary stuff overall is much better than it was."

Chatwood followed Nicasio with two scoreless innings of his own, giving up one hit and walking one.

"When he's down in the zone with his fastball, he's really, really good," Weiss said. "He dominated some really good lineups last year at times. It was encouraging to see that from both of those guys."

Getting similar outings from Nicasio and Chatwood during the regular season is key for the Rockies to get off to a good start as their ace recovers. Nicasio said he's ready to step up.

"We have a lot of pitching here and it's a good opportunity for everybody," Nicasio said. "Work hard and when the season starts, try helping the team win and pitching well."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.