03/27/2013 2:48 AM ET
Cuddyer swinging hot bat as spring winds down
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's about that time of Spring Training that a veteran like Michael Cuddyer knows the bright lights are coming on and the real games are about to begin.
In Cuddyer's case, that has meant a power surge with home runs in each of his last two games, including a first-inning grand slam in the Rockies' 7-6 victory Tuesday night against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.
His slam off Aaron Harang was not only his second homer in two days but also second for the spring, and it provided evidence he feels like his swing is where he wants it with Opening Day just six days away.
"I feel good and I'm ready for the season to start, for sure," Cuddyer said. "These are kind of the last days of school, like when you're in high school."
Indeed, Cuddyer is among those raring to get out of Arizona and get on with the regular season. Coming off a 2012 campaign that saw him lose a good chunk of the season with an oblique strain, Cuddyer of course is hoping for a healthy return to a full season of playing -- but that hasn't been his goal this spring, per se.
"You can't go through Spring Training saying I'm going to do something for the purpose of staying healthy," said Cuddyer, who turns 34 on Wednesday. "You just do what you can do and you hope the cards fall your way and you hope your body responds. The goal of Spring Training is to get yourself mentally and physically prepared for the season, and I feel like that's been accomplished."
Garland makes strong first impression with Rox
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jon Garland performed as advertised in his first outing with the Rockies on Tuesday night, keeping the ball down, getting ground balls and continuing what has been an impressive spring.
His previous Cactus League starts had been with the Mariners, but when they cut him loose from his Minor League deal, the Rockies jumped on the opportunity to bring the veteran in on a Major League contract, hoping he'd provide veteran savvy and some strong work on the mound.
That's what he did Tuesday in six innings of work, allowing one run on five hits while recording 11 ground-ball outs and inducing two double plays -- a similar outing to his last one with Seattle.
"I really felt the same as the last outing prior to this one, another six-inning job," he said. "Tonight, I was feeling good, staying on top of the ball and driving to the zone."
For Rockies manager Walt Weiss, seeing Garland in uniform and watching every pitch he threw painted a picture of a professional, one he's happy to have in the fold.
"He's a pitcher," Weiss said. "He's able to execute a plan. It's fun to watch that."
With that outing, a whirlwind spring is about at an end for Garland, who signed a Minor League deal with Seattle on Feb. 12, then proved over the next five-plus weeks that he had made it back from 2011 shoulder surgery that wiped out his 2012 season.
"I said it the first couple of days: I was debuting for pretty much every team out there," Garland said. "Just because I was wearing that uniform, it wasn't a given that they were going to keep me. I knew there were scouts at every game, keeping an eye on me."
When the Mariners decided they didn't want to commit to him, Garland's agent, Craig Landis, advised him not to fly home to Los Angeles, thinking a team would be calling soon. It turned out to be the Rockies, and now he's getting comfortable with a new team.
A strong outing Tuesday night was a good way to introduce himself to his new teammates.
"That's definitely the easy part, because you're going out there and competing," Garland said of his first outing in a Rockies uniform. "It doesn't matter which guy you pick, what he's wearing, what day it is, it could be a Sunday softball game, a professional athlete's going to go out there and compete. That's what I've tried to maintain, and it's worked out well."
Rockies believe Triple-A time will boost Pomeranz
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- One day after the Rockies sent left-hander Drew Pomeranz down to Triple-A to get further seasoning, Rockies senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett said it wasn't an easy call -- it never is, especially when you're talking about a talent like Pomeranz.
"You also know that it's the best thing for him and it's the best thing for our club, and you've got to make those decisions, no matter how badly you really want him on the club," Geivett said.
Pomeranz, 24, was thrust into the starting rotation and made 22 starts last year, compiling a 3-9 record and a 4.93 ERA. The No. 1 pick of the Indians in 2010 who was acquired from Cleveland as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez deal in 2011, Pomeranz needs to work on developing a full Major League repertoire, Geivett said.
"Where he's at right now, he's an attacking fastball guy but with limited use of his secondary pitches," Geivett said. "We've got to get that back in order so he can handle a game plan and handle a lineup and do the type of things that I think are not that far away."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.