SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies, hoping to improve their starting pitching, have talked to representatives of veteran right-hander Jon Garland, who requested and received his release from the Mariners on Saturday, according to a Major League source.
Garland, 33, last pitched in the Majors in 2011 but missed half of that season and all of 2012 after shoulder surgery. But after signing a Minor League contract with the Mariners in February, he went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four Cactus League starts. When the Mariners told him Friday that he was not in contention for a spot in their rotation, Garland left to pursue other opportunities.
The Rockies were among the teams that scouted Garland's last start, when he held the White Sox to two runs and five hits in six innings on Thursday. Reports were favorable.
The Rockies have announced that right-hander Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, with left-hander Jeff Francis, lefty Jorge De La Rosa and righty Juan Nicasio also in the rotation. Lefty Drew Pomeranz appears in line for the other rotation spot, unless the Rockies add either a free agent or a trade acquisition.
Garland is 132-119 with a 4.32 ERA over 12 Major League seasons and posted win totals in double figures every year from 2002 to 2010. He was 1-5 with a 4.33 ERA for the Dodgers in 2011 before injuries halted him. Garland's best season was 2005, when he appeared in the All-Star Game and went 18-10 with an American League-leading three shutouts, and won twice in the postseason while helping the White Sox to the World Series championship.
Chacin returns to mound from back spasms
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin was scratched from a scheduled start Friday with back spasms and gave up two home runs in two innings Saturday night.
Still, it doesn't count, and manager Walt Weiss believes Chacin will be ready when it does.
Chacin is scheduled to start on Opening Day, April 1 at Milwaukee. Had he not suffered the back spasms on Thursday, he would have been asked to throw around 90 pitches on Friday. Instead, he worked two innings in an unfamiliar relief role Saturday in the Rockies' 10-4 victory over the Padres.
The two hits Chacin yielded were solo homers by Kyle Blanks and Cody Ransom. He left the mound with a 7.36 Cactus League ERA, with one start scheduled between now and the season opener.
"It was a little different for him, coming in, in the middle of the game," Weiss said. "It's not his routine.
"He got a ball out over the plate to a large man [Blanks], but I'm not too worried about him finding his way through lineups. He knows how to pitch."
• Right-handed relief prospect Rob Scahill faced second and third with no outs in the eighth inning Saturday night, then fanned the Padres' Will Venable, A.J. Kirby-Jones and Kyle Blanks in order. He pitched two scoreless innings to drop his Cactus League ERA to 1.35.
Scahill was a starter at Triple-A Colorado Springs last year but made six relief appearances in the Majors and is being converted to relief.
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.