03/23/12 2:50 AM ET
Moyer bounces back with gem
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Moyer mixed in his cut fastball, a pitch he kept in his back pocket early in camp, and dominated. He threw just 45 pitches, 30 for strikes. The only reason he didn't pitch longer was because he ran the bases, going from first to third on Marco Scutaro's two-run double in the second inning, so manager Jim Tracy decided not to push him."It's all about each time out trying to make some progress," Moyer said. "Tonight, I didn't throw many curveballs, but I moved forward." Just one ball was hit hard -- Angel Pagan's line drive into the outfield in the game's first at-bat. Moyer's best sequence came against Pagan in the fourth inning. He fell behind, 3-0, but came back to strike out Pagan swinging at a backdoor cutter. All of this was done with a fastball that didn't touch the mid-80s on the radar gun. The performance came after struggling in a Minor League game against the D-backs on Monday, when he gave up two home runs and a double and saw six of the 11 batters he faced reach base in his 1 1/3 innings. "He pitched four innings, had activity on the bases and I'm anxious to see tomorrow how he physically responds," Tracy said. "But he looks like Jamie Moyer. It doesn't look like he missed a year last year. His velocity hasn't changed. His repertoire hasn't changed. His energy hasn't changed. His love for the game hasn't changed. He's out there competing, and he's doing a wonderful job."
Helton tips cap to Chipper
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies first baseman Todd Helton is one of few players who can identify with the Braves' Chipper Jones, but one of many who admire him.Jones announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of the season. He has played all 18 years of his career with the Braves. The only active players with more than 2,000 hits with one club are Derek Jeter of the Yankees (3,088), Jones (2,615) and Helton (2,363). "I have the utmost respect for Chipper Jones and all he's accomplished in the game," Helton said. "You're talking about a first-ballot Hall of Famer. A Hall of Famer is one thing, but he's a first-ballot guy." Helton, 38, also was impressed that Jones could make that announcement now. "Wherever he goes, he'll know it'll be the last time he goes into a city, and that's pretty cool that he went ahead and made that decision now," Helton said. "It's a cool concept." Can Helton handle his retirement the same way. "I'm not a planner, but I'm not sure," Helton said. "When I get there, I'll know."
Rockies outfield hopeful Charlie Blackmon was scratched from the lineup before Thursday's game against the Padres in Tucson because of inflammation in his right big toe. Tracy said Blackmon will not play Saturday against the Cubs. Catcher Ramon Hernandez, who was hit on the left knee by a pitch while batting on Tuesday night, could be in the lineup Saturday against the Cubs. Catching prospect Wilin Rosario went 3-for-4 with a double Thursday night to improve his Cactus League average to .444 with eight RBIs. Veteran third baseman Casey Blake, who underwent neck surgery last year and struggled with soreness in the neck and shoulder area earlier this spring, reached on an error and scored Thursday night. Blake went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and is 0-for-14 with five strikeouts this spring. In the continuing effort to assess his condition, Tracy said it was likely he will play Friday against the Cubs.
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.