SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Some pitchers are going to be disappointed at the end of Spring Training when they begin the year at Triple-A Colorado Springs, rather than with the Rockies. But the Rockies have softened the blow somewhat by installing an atmosphere-controlled chamber for storing the baseballs, similar to what they have had at Coors Field since 2002."It's installed and currently operational," Rockies player development director Jeff Bridich said. "I'm sure all of the home pitchers and all of the road pitchers -- every pitcher in the park will be thankful." The chamber at Coors, the so-called "humidor," helped normalize pitching. In the past, the high-desert atmosphere caused baseballs to become smaller, more slippery and harder -- conditions that favor hitting. It's even more pronounced at Security Service Field, which is about 1,000 feet higher in elevation than Coors Field. Last year, for example, Greg Reynolds had a 6.81 ERA, and Clayton Mortensen was at 9.42 in Colorado Springs. Both were called to the Majors on multiple occasions and at least felt they had a fighting chance because conditions were not so extreme. The new baseball storage system does not do anything to combat the altitude of the stadium or the unusual and strong wind patterns that seem to always favor hitters, but it helps. "It's trying to standardize or normalize baseball as much as we can and have it a game that's reflective of a baseball game, and not a football score or a high school basketball score," Bridich said. "It's so very difficult to evaluate our pitchers. Really, any scout that goes in there, whether it's our scout or a scout from a different club, it's so very difficult to know what you're seeing from a pitching perspective. "You really have to tip your hat to the pitchers that have pitched well there."
Rockies seeking place for Pacheco's bat
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Jordan Pacheco doesn't mind the various projects the Rockies have assigned him. He has transitioned from a college infielder to a catcher adept at blocking low pitches.Third base is a work in progress, but he has made multiple impressive plays over the past week of Spring Training, and he can fill in at first base. All of this allows Pacheco to do what's most comfortable for him -- hit. Pacheco added two more hits Monday against the Angels to lift his Cactus League batting average to .447. His hitting from the right side puts Pacheco, who hit .286 in his 22-game Major League debut last year, in line for his first career Opening Day roster spot. Pacheco is happy he arrived at camp in a groove.
"Every guy can attest to this; when things are going good, they're going good and everybody knows it," Pacheco said. "When things are going bad, you've got to stick to what you know and just keep pushing forward. Baseball is an up-and-down sport."Depending on how the Rockies form their roster, Pacheco could begin the year as a backup catcher or a utility bat and third catcher. As the No. 2 catcher, he would play often because Ramon Hernandez will turn 36 on May 20, and needs more rest than a younger starting catcher. Pacheco has developed a decent comfort level at catcher, a position he didn't play until 2008. "I took it at the beginning as an opportunity, and I feel more comfortable back there," he said. "Every year it gets a little bit easier and I have a great coaching staff, plus with veteran catchers around, all you have to do is listen." Third base continues to be a work in progress. Pacheco started at third on Monday and made a couple of plays that required nice range, but committed a pair of errors in the sixth inning. He spent extra time on the field Sunday with third-base coach and infield instructor Rich Dauer working on his first-step quickness.
Pomeranz wins first start in two weeks
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz lacked efficiency, but was effective Monday afternoon.Pomeranz needed 85 pitches to go four innings in the Rockies' 6-2 victory over the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. But he held the Angels to one run and four hits. Pomeranz, 23, a rookie who was the key to the deal that sent former ace Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians, didn't give up a run in his first three Cactus League appearances. But the third, on March 13, was halted after two innings because of a strained right glute muscle. Pomeranz pitched in a Minor League game against the Angels last Wednesday. He said he is not bothered by the injury, but the disruption to his schedule affected his delivery and his sharpness. "I wasn't as efficient today," Pomeranz said. "I was trying to work on staying back, but I was still [leaning forward] a little bit. "I was just a little up in the zone today, which is why they fouled a lot of pitches off. I didn't command things as well." Nonetheless, he felt the number of pitches he threw helped him. "I threw 85 pitches, but it didn't really feel like it," he said. "I feel great. I could have thrown a lot more than that."
Colvin continues push for bench role
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Tyler Colvin went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base for the Rockies in a 6-2 victory over the Angels, and continued his push for a left-handed-hitting backup outfield spot.Colvin, 26, part of the deal that sent former Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart to the Cubs on Dec. 8, is hitting .400 (18-for-45) with a home run and 11 RBIs. Colvin also has shown the ability to play all three outfield positions, and he handles the bat to manager Jim Tracy's liking. As a rookie in 2010, Colvin hit .254 with 20 home runs in 135 games, but last year tailed off to .150 with six homers. The Rockies brought Colvin to Denver during the offseason to help him rebuild the opposite-gap swing that led to rookie success. Now he is in line to help his new club. "I feel like I'm in a good place, but I feel it's going to be a tough decision," Colvin said. "After the year I had last year, I knew I was going to have to come in here and prove myself. I've got to keep hitting, keep playing good defense and doing what I know I can do." Colvin's performance seems to have him in line for a job, especially since left-handed-hitting Charlie Blackmon is out with a turf toe ailment in his right big toe.
Outman finding groove after injury
TEMPE, Ariz. -- An early bout with triceps pain hurt Rockies left-hander Josh Outman's bid to make the starting rotation, but strong work in his last three outings has made him a prime candidate for a multi-innings spot in the bullpen.Outman gave up eight hits and five runs in his first two outings, although one bad inning was responsible for much of that difficulty. But Outman missed 10 days of Cactus League play. Since returning March 20, he has thrown 4 2/3 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and two walks. Outman, 27, obtained Jan. 16 from the Athletics with righty Guillermo Moscoso for outfielder Seth Smith, pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three in the Rockies' 6-2 victory over the Angels on Monday. He worked around two hits and a walk. The work came in the eighth and ninth innings against many Angels regulars. Outman possesses a lively fastball, which allows him to use his above-average changeup. "I had a little bit of a setback after my second outing, but it looks like I've got a chance to help the team win in a relief capacity, which I'm willing to do," Outman said. "I'm capable of throwing multiple innings, since I'm from a starting background." Last season, Outman went 3-5 with a 3.70 ERA in 13 games, including nine starts, for the Athletics.
White embraces move to Rockies' bullpen
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- From the day he was selected in the first round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, right-hander Alex White began hearing his future was as a reliever. That was not a compliment then, but he's embracing it this spring.The Rockies, who obtained White in a trade with the Indians last year, have told White his best chance of making the team to open the season is out of the bullpen. White threw two strong innings in Sunday's victory over the Reds. It was his third relief outing of the spring following two starts. "As soon as I was drafted, that was the first thing people said, that I was going to the bullpen," White said. "I had to prove my first couple years of pro ball that I could start. I wanted to be a starter. But to get to this level, it's a very fine line. We think my best role right now is in the bullpen, and that's something I'm going to try to do as well as I can." White throws a sinker in the 92-93 mph range, and it's his most consistent pitch. The Rockies believe he can be dominant if he controls his slider, which is 84-85 mph with depth, and his four-seam fastball, which burned in at 97 mph on Sunday and has reached 98.
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.