03/19/12 8:21 PM ET
Pomeranz feels good after bullpen session
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Old pal Helton on Manning to Denver: 'It's neat'
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies first baseman Todd Helton was the last quarterback at Tennessee to take a snap in a football game before Peyton Manning took over in 1994. The two have been friends since their college days.Now they'll have more chances to catch up with one another. News broke Monday that Manning, who won a Super Bowl and put up all-time numbers with the Indianapolis Colts, was on the verge of signing a free-agent contract with the Denver Broncos. "I'm excited," Helton said. "It's a good move. He's a great football player, one of the best of all-time.
"It's neat. When he was in Indy, it wasn't a city we traveled to. I was just hoping he was going to go to a city where we play. To have him in Denver is going to be great."Helton has full confidence that Manning will make a successful return from multiple neck surgeries that cost him the 2011 season. Manning spent part of last summer in Denver and was a frequent visitor to Coors Field. Helton worked out with Manning at Duke University during the offseason and expects him to play well. "I kept telling him how impressed I was at how far he had come since he came out [to Denver] after he had surgeries," Helton said. "He was throwing the ball as well as I'd ever seen him. I'm an untrained eye, but I know it hurt when I caught it." Of course, the Manning news trumped pretty much anything that happened in Denver sports, including the Rockies' 4-3 victory over the Angels in a Cactus League game. "I did get a hit, too," Helton said while walking away from a group of reporters.
Moyer passes test, with bigger one ahead
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The good news for Rockies left-hander Jamie Moyer is, he was back on the pitching mound on Monday afternoon.Moyer, who had been held out of action in recent days because of soreness in his left leg, went 1 1/3 innings against D-backs Triple-A hitters and gave up four earned runs on six hits that included two home runs. Moyer threw strikes on 30 of his 41 pitches. The bigger test for Moyer, 49 and making a comeback from a Tommy John elbow surgery he underwent while with the Phillies, will be his next appearance. He'll have to respond during the next four days and build his pitch count. Moyer is trying to make the Rockies' team as a non-roster invitee. Moyer hopes to throw 50-60 pitches Thursday in his next appearance. Manager Jim Tracy said he is more concerned with how Moyer bounced back than his statistics on Monday.
Moyer said he is trying to find a dependable workout program between starts to prevent muscle injuries."My last couple years of playing, I've tried to modify that," Moyer said. "It's not like this year I'm trying to do something completely different. It's trying to work smart, recover quickly and appropriately and continue to prepare for my next outing."
Rockies' Fowler sticking with leg kick
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler found happiness and success last year when he added a leg kick before his swing. Fowler is still happy, even if the success hasn't arrived this spring.The switch-hitting Fowler went 1-for-3 with a single and a strikeout Monday against the Angels, and is 2-for-25 with a home run in Cactus League play. "I'm just getting my timing back, but my swing feels fine," Fowler said. "It's a matter of timing with my foot. I have been closing myself off, I don't know why. It's just a matter of fixing that and going on from there. "I'm going to stick with [the leg kick]. I got the confidence in it. I've had success with it. It's for contact and power. It gets my body in position to hit, whether it's line drives or some doubles and triples." Fowler entered Monday 0-for-1 on steal attempts. Fowler's speed has helped him set the Rockies' single-season record for triples each of the last two seasons, and the Rockies are hoping he can parlay the speed into greater success in the stolen-base category, as Fowler is 52-for-80 in his career. Fowler saw some success the second half of last season, when he was 10-for-13. "I'm just studying, taking mental notes," Fowler said. "The steals are going to be there. My jumps are there. Late last season, the confidence was there."
Rox reassign Friedrich, LeMahieu to Minors
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies reassigned former top Draft pick Christian Friedrich, a left-handed pitcher, and infielder DJ LeMahieu, obtained from the Cubs during the offseason, to the Minors on Monday as part of a series of roster moves.
Friedrich impressed the Rockies with his physical conditioning this winter after a difficult year at Double-A Tulsa in 2011 (6-10, 5.00 ERA). He will get regular work in Minor League games.
LeMahieu, 23, hit .250 in 37 games for the Cubs last season. The Rockies acquired LeMahieu and outfielder Tyler Colvin from the Cubs for third baseman Ian Stewart and pitcher Casey Weathers in December.
The Rockies will keep LeMahieu in Major League camp, however.
The Rockies also reassigned right-handed pitchers Rob Scahill and Josh Sullivan to Minor League camp.
In addition, the Rockies outrighted outfielder Jamie Hoffmann off the 40-man Major League roster. The 27-year-old, who appeared in two games with the Dodgers last year, elected to become a free agent.
The Rockies have 44 players in camp and 38 on their 40-man roster.
Rockies right-hander Esmil Rogers struck out Torii Hunter and Alberto Callaspo during a perfect sixth inning on Monday, and is in the running for a bullpen spot.Before Monday, Rogers was believed in contention for either the rotation or the bullpen. But Tracy said that "as we sit here today" he was leaning to bullpen work for Rogers, who was in and out of the rotation last year while going 6-6 with a 7.05 ERA. "Absolutely outstanding -- aggressive, the tempo we're looking for, pounding the strike zone with mid-90s velocity," Tracy said. Rogers said, "I have no idea what's going to happen, so I'm here whether they need me in the bullpen or as a starter." Tracy said he is intrigued with the work of non-roster right-handed relief candidate Carlos Torres, who gave up one hit in a scoreless ninth and struck out one. Torres went 9-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 27 games, 25 starts, at Triple-A Charlotte, a hitter's park. Tracy also liked the work of righty Zach Putnam, who came in a trade with the Indians for right-handed pitcher Kevin Slowey. Putnam, who went 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA in eight appearances with the Indians last year, walked one and struck out one in one inning. Righty Josh Roenicke pitched a perfect inning and has not given up an earned run this spring. Lefty Josh Outman, who came to camp as a competitor for the rotation, will be used as a reliever Tuesday night against the Padres, Tracy said. Outman warmed up Sunday but the game against the Mariners was called because of rain and hail before he could enter the game. Tracy said Outman would need a couple of short outings before being asked to pitch starter's innings. Utility candidate Brandon Wood, who started spring strong but has struggled recently, delivered a key sacrifice fly on Monday. "He needed it," said Tracy, who said the Rockies put him through a 30-minute hitting session Sunday to excise some of the bad habits that caused him to pull balls weakly instead of drive them the opposite way.
Rockies third baseman Casey Blake went 0-for-2 after missing a week with neck soreness. Blake is coming off neck surgery that shortened his season with the Dodgers.
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.