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03/09/11 7:53 PM ET

Maine's comeback gets off to encouraging start

TEMPE, Ariz. -- John Maine's road to recovery now includes a Cactus League outing.

On Wednesday, Maine gave up three hits in two scoreless innings against the Angels in his first appearance in a game this spring. The right-handed pitcher made only nine starts in 2010 in a season shortened by shoulder surgery.

"In my mind, he was reminiscent of the John Maine we have seen in the past," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "John Maine, when he is right like you saw a little bit today, has the capability to pitch up in the zone. ... I felt that for the first time out there since joining us that the ball is coming out very, very well."

Maine entered in the fifth inning, and his first pitch was hit for single up the middle by Bobby Wilson. Chris Pettit hit Maine's second pitch to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for the start of a 6-4-3 double play. Jeremy Moore followed with a triple, but Maine recovered and retired Erick Aybar to end the inning.

In the sixth, Maine gave up a one-out single to Howard Kendrick, who stole second and third base. But Maine escaped the inning unscathed. He threw 15 pitches in the inning, 11 for strikes.

Huston Street replaced Maine to start the seventh inning.

"It was interesting," Tracy said. "We have to see more of it, but obviously, not too bad for the first time around, that's for sure."

Maine's career year came in his first full season with the Mets in 2007, when he went 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts. He made 15 starts for the Mets the previous year, setting a rookie Mets record with 26 consecutive scoreless innings.

Smith making strides at plate against lefties

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rockies right fielder Seth Smith is showing signs of progress against left-handed pitching.

On Wednesday, the left-handed-hitting Smith hit a line drive off Angels left-hander Scott Kazmir. He smashed a single up the middle against White Sox left-handed pitcher John Danks on Tuesday.

He hit .154 against left-handed pitching last season and is a .190 hitter against left-handed pitching in 121 at-bats in his career. By contrast, he's a .285 hitter against right-handed pitching in his career.

Tracy seeks improvement with bunting

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Rockies did not execute all of their bunt attempts Wednesday, but manager Jim Tracy is hopeful players like Dexter Fowler and Hernan Iribarren will improve at the skill.

"The only way they are going to get an opportunity to perfect it is to let them go out there and keep doing it," Tracy said. "You have to give them a chance to do it when they see a live arm coming at them. You are not always going to be successful in what you want as far as the ball being laid down in a real interesting place, but you've got to keep letting them do it."

Worth noting

Injured pitcher Aaron Cook (shoulder) threw 15 pitches off the mound Wednesday and is working his way toward a bullpen session. "He's basically getting used to the slope and we'll see how he reacts tomorrow," Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said. ... Eric Young Jr., who is recovering from a stress fracture in his right leg, is scheduled to play in a game on Saturday. ... There is a possibility that Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, who is friends with Rockies manager Jim Tracy, will be in the Colorado dugout for Thursday's game against the Brewers in Phoenix. The Nuggets will be in town to play the Suns later in the night.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.