MESA, Ariz. -- The seven pounds that Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler added this offseason were to help with durability. Playing in Coors Field's roomy outfield and stealing bases can cause much wear and tear.Fowler did not show up with a goal of hitting home runs. Still, he didn't mind going deep Tuesday. The switch-hitter homered to left field against Cubs left-hander James Russell during an 11-4 loss to the Cubs at HoHoKam Stadium. Fowler spent time training in Las Vegas at workouts organized by teammates Jason Giambi and Troy Tulowitzki, and came to camp not only stronger but more confident. "It wasn't just for more power, but endurance and playing to my full potential," Fowler said. "You got guys around you, leaders on the team, veteran guys who give you respect that you always want. "
Last season, Fowler hit .266 with a .363 on-base percentage, both figures tying 2009 for his career best. He was far more successful after a June demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs. After his return, Fowler hit .288 with a .381 on-base percentage, 22 doubles, 10 triples and five home runs -- all while fighting off multiple bumps and bruises."It was just the whole grind of the season," said Fowler, who recorded 10 of his 12 steals after returning. "Mentally I was there, but my knees were bothering me, my legs were a little tired. "I signed up for 162 [games], and that's what I was going to play. Through all the ups and downs, you still have to go out there and battle." The finish to the season earned Fowler respect from his teammates. Manager Jim Tracy wants Fowler not to be bashful about working his way into a leadership role. The 25-year-old, who made the team in 2009 despite not having played in Triple-A, is ready. "You always want to think of yourself as a leader, verbally and by example," Fowler said. "I've been around here for a while. Finally, I feel I can voice my opinion."
Moscoso aware he has plenty of competition
MESA, Ariz. -- The numbers did not look good for Rockies right-hander Guillermo Moscoso, a starting-rotation hopeful, on Tuesday. In two innings of an 11-4 loss to the Cubs at HoHoKam Stadium, Moscoso gave up four runs on five hits, including two home runs.Moscoso, 28, was part of the Rockies' take from the A's when they dealt outfielder Seth Smith, and he realizes he'll have to post better results as he competes for a spot in the rotation. Moscoso said he threw just one bad pitch -- Alfonso Soriano's leadoff homer in the second inning. Moscoso also yielded a three-run shot to Brett Jackson later in that inning, but said he and catcher Ramon Hernandez determined it was a decent pitch thrown to an unfamiliar hitter. Last season, Moscoso started with Triple-A Sacramento but ended up throwing 128 innings for the Athletics and went 8-10 with a 3.38 ERA. Now he'll try to take the next step in his career with the Rockies, but he'll have to overcome multiple competitors to do it. "It's something that you have to keep in mind, because there are a lot of young guys fighting for a spot," Moscoso said. "The reason that I'm here is they know that I can help the team a lot. They know that I can make those pitches. "It's just one game and I missed one pitch. You learn, every game."
White expects healthy finger will help
MESA, Ariz. -- Right-handed pitcher Alex White won't blame his difficulties in seven starts with the Rockies last season on an injury to his middle finger that he suffered earlier in the year. But he said it's nice that the finger is healthy.White displayed a keen ability to keep pitches down during two innings of the Rockies' 11-4 loss to the Cubs at HoHoKam Stadium on Tuesday. White yielded a double to the first batter he faced, Alfonso Soriano, to open the third. After that, he struck out two, walked one and got three batters to record outs on grounders in his two-inning stint. Early last season, while pitching for the Indians, White suffered a torn pulley tendon in his right middle finger -- similar to the injury that cost Rockies reliever Jorge De La Rosa time and created a lengthy adjustment period for the left-hander in 2010. White was healthy when he returned, but De La Rosa warned him that there would be a difficult adjustment period. White went 2-4 with an 8.42 ERA and gave up 12 home runs in 36 1/3 innings with the Rockies, who acquired him as part of the deal that sent former ace Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians. "I'm staying on top of the baseball," White said. "I don't know if the injury had anything to do with [last year's struggles]. The second thing is I'm able to do with the baseball what I want to do, whether it's getting on top of a slider, throwing it almost like a cutter." White said giving up the Soriano double wasn't entirely bad. "One of the biggest things of Spring Training is putting yourself in positions you're going to be in during the season when it counts," White said.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy said first baseman Todd Helton, second baseman Marco Scutaro and right fielder Michael Cuddyer will be in the lineup Wednesday when the Rockies face the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium.It will be Helton's Cactus League debut. Helton has had success against Giants starter Tim Lincecum, who's scheduled to pitch on Wednesday. Scutaro and Cuddyer came to the Rockies from the American League -- Scutaro from the Red Sox, Cuddyer from the Twins -- and want to have an up-close look at Lincecum. Rockies utility prospect Jordan Pacheco is trying to build a case for himself with the bat for the second straight Spring Training. Pacheco went 2-for-3 in Tuesday afternoon's 11-4 loss to the Cubs at HoHoKam Stadium. Pacheco went to camp last year as a catcher and hit well enough that the Rockies kept him in mind for a late-season callup. Pacheco hit .286 with two home runs and 14 RBIs in 21 big league games in 2011. Pacheco played first base Tuesday and has seen time at catcher in camp. Chris Nelson, another competitor for a bench role, ranged to his left for two strong defensive plays at second base against the Cubs. Outfielder Tyler Colvin, obtained from the Cubs during the offseason, went 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI against his former club. Colvin also drove in a run with an infield grounder. Infielder DJ LeMahieu, also part of that trade, went 0-for-1. Rockies outfield hopeful Charlie Blackmon made a diving catch in center, but also was robbed on a catch against the wall in center by the Cubs' James Adduci.
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.