Lyles 'in a good place' as he eyes rotation spot

Lyles 'in a good place' as he eyes rotation spot

MESA, Ariz. -- Righty Jordan Lyles, competing for the Rockies' rotation spot that will be open at the start of the year as Jhoulys Chacin recovers from a right shoulder injury, made forward strides during three scoreless innings in Tuesday's 13-0 victory over the Cubs.

Lyles' first inning featured two loud outs to the outfield but no damage, and he looked effective the rest of the time. He finished with four strikeouts, and was at his best in his final inning. Lyles came from the Astros as part of the trade for center fielder Dexter Fowler.

While working with Rockies pitching coach Jim Wright, Lyles, 23, has made small tweaks that he hopes will make him a more consistent ground-ball pitcher. Lyles has a 1.13 Cactus League ERA. The more experienced Franklin Morales, a lefty, and Christian Friedrich, who was limited to four appearances at Triple-A by back issues last season, also are competing. Morales could be used in the bullpen and as a spot-starter if the Rockies don't put him in the rotation.

"He's getting some confirmation out there with the things he's working on," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of Lyles. "He's developing some angle with his fastball, which is going to allow him to keep the ball on the ground. He can two-seam it already.

"He threw some good cutters. He's got the breaking ball, good curveball, but I think it was a cutter he was throwing today, and he got some swings and misses on it. Jordan's in a good place."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.