PHOENIX -- The Rockies sent nine players down to Minor League camp on Thursday, most of them young prospects who could figure in the team's future plans.
The biggest name was lefty Christian Friedrich, who was limited to four Triple-A appearances last year because of a back injury after getting big league time in 2012. The move with Friedrich, the team's top Draft choice in 2008, leaves lefty Franklin Morales and righty Jordan Lyles as the competitors for the small handful of starts that will be available while righty Jhoulys Chacin recovers from a strain and inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
The other close-to-the-Majors players sent out were righty-hitting outfielder-first baseman Kyle Parker, who displayed power (.261, three doubles, one home run, eight RBIs) but could use some polish, and Kent Matthes, who hit .297 at Triple-A Colorado Springs last season.
Parker, ranked as the club's ninth-best prospect by MLB.com, has exceeded 20 home runs in each of his three seasons since being the club's first-round pick in 2010.
Other pitchers sent down were right-hander Raul Fernandez and left-handers Jayson Aquino, Tyler Matzek and Kraig Sitton. Matzek, the top pick in 2009, converted to the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League and was solid in camp.
The Rockies also sent down shortstops Cristhian Adames and Rosell Herrera, both of whom have speed and are physical enough to move to other positions if necessary.
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.