SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The Rockies on Friday put in motion their spring pitching rotation, sending two veteran arms through simulated games a day before the Cactus League schedule kicks in.
Tyler Chatwood, a 27-year-old right-hander, threw two game-like innings against Rockies hitters on a back field at Salt River, getting through about 30 pitches.
Rockies manager Bud Black will stick to a pitching progression to build up his starters following a step-up schedule of two innings or 30 pitches, followed by three innings or 45 pitches, then four innings or 60 pitches, and so on.
Lefty Tyler Anderson will start the Cactus League opener Saturday at Salt River against Arizona.
Jake McGee, a 30-year-old lefty reliever, rotated with Chatwood by throwing one inning. He struck out two batters, allowed what would have been a broken-bat single, then a groundout.
"I'm really happy where I'm at right now, with velocity and the life on my fastball," McGee said. "And my slider, all spring, has gotten a lot of good feedback. It has a lot more depth on it than last year and the spin is good."
McGee's fastball reached 93 mph. And he said he's about 85 percent ready for the season. A left-knee injury that bothered him last season was not an issue, he said. "I haven't thought about it once."
Chatwood, who reached 94 mph on his fastball, yelled in disgust after Mark Reynolds hit a pitch over the outfield wall. But Chatwood later struck out Reynolds with a slider and got Tony Wolters to ground out.
Diaz back at it. Jairo Diaz, 25, entered spring training last season with the promise of a 100 mph fastball. But an elbow injury and Tommy John surgery ended his season before it started. On Friday, he threw batting practice against live hitting for the first time.
"I know I missed a couple pitches, but it felt really good," Diaz said. He began throwing bullpen sessions in the Dominican Republic over the winter and will now ramp up for, the Rockies hope, a May return.
"It's coming along, I know," Diaz said. "Every bullpen, I feel better and better."
New ballpark problems. The FBI is now investigating the long-delayed and over-budget construction of a new ballpark in Hartford, Conn., the home of Rockies' Double-A affiliate, the Yard Goats. The Hartford Courant reported, according to multiple sources, that the FBI is looking into why public-funded Dunkin' Donuts Park ballooned $15 million over budget and months overdue.
The Yard Goats never played a home game last season while the ballpark was under construction. "It was interesting. Really crazy," Rockies prospect Ryan McMahon said of playing a season full of road trips.
Rox on TV. Root Sports will broadcast six Rockies Cactus League games, starting March 20, when the team faces the Chicago Cubs. Root will also air games on March 22, 24, 25, 31 and April 1.
Prospect rankings. Baseball America ranked the Rockies 10th in baseball in their annual look at minor-league talent depth. The magazine ranked the Rox sixth last season. The Braves were tops at No. 1. The Dodgers, top-ranked last year, were ranked No. 4.
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