3/17/2014 9:12 P.M. ET
Rutledge's performance making Rox take notice
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- A year later, Rockies infielder Josh Rutledge is understanding Spring Training.
Rutledge had the odd experience of appearing in the Majors -- hitting .274 with eight home runs, 37 RBIs in 73 games when shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was injured in 2012 -- before ever spending a spring in big league camp. Last year, he went to Major League camp as the starter at second base, posted a .211 Cactus League batting average and took bad habits into the season. He was in Triple-A Colorado Springs by late May and DJ LeMahieu took off with the second base job.
Rutledge, 24, is having a better 2014 spring. Monday's 3-for-4 exhibition performance that included a double and a solo home run in a 9-7 victory over the Padres left his Cactus League batting average at .304.
Manager Walt Weiss has LeMahieu established as the starting second baseman and there is plenty of competition for the backup infield spot. Paul Janish singled off the bench to raise his average to .452, and he has several seasons of utility experience, Charlie Culberson is batting .294, and Ryan Wheeler is at .333 and has left-handed power potential, although he plays the corners and not the middle infield.
But Rutledge is pushing his way into the competition. As a third-round pick out of the University of Alabama in 2010, he also has raw ability that the Rockies are hoping will help him flourish.
This time, Rutledge doesn't have a job thrust into his hand, which may have created some pressure in 2013.
"I'm sure it did at times," said Rutledge, who bounced between the Majors (.235 batting average, seven homers, 19 RBIs in 88 games) and Colorado Springs (.371, four homers, 24 RBIs in 38 games). "I think I did a good job of learning from it and figuring out a different way to look at things.
"It's just a lot of work in the cage, work in the field, working with a bunch of different coaches, watching all the film of past swings and trying to mimic those. It's showing in the game."
Weiss said, "He's so talented. That's why we haven't given up on the fact we feel he can be an impact player."
Anderson impresses on mound and in batter's box
PEORIA, Ariz. -- A working man's hands tell a story. Now Rockies pitcher Brett Anderson can tell a tale of hitting, and he's got the blister on his left hand, high on the palm, at a spot between the inner knuckles of his index and middle fingers, to vouch for what he says.
The most important story was Anderson's six-inning performance -- five runs, three earned, but Xavier Nady's two-run homer was the only hit that was simultaneously solid and damaging. Anderson's work, which also included five strikeouts and no walks, was good enough for the win in the Rockies' 9-7 victory over the Padres.
However, the more interesting story came from his single in the sixth.
Anderson, obtained from the Athletics during the offseason to add front-end talent to the Rockies' rotation, was 0-for-4 in his career. A look at his Minor League hitting stats says he never had as much as an at-bat. But now he has a Spring Training hit, one that bounced off the glove of Padres relief pitcher Matt Wisler.
"I got a blister from hitting -- kind of flared up -- which is new to me," Anderson said. "A not-very-hard base hit."
"This was my first professional hit. A rocket back to the pitcher."
There's more to the story. Behind him, Drew Stubbs popped a bunt. There was Anderson, trapped between first and second. It was an easy double play.
"I made a pretty bad baserunning error," Anderson said. "I was just excited to be on base I guess."
Rockies manager Walt Weiss said from seeing Anderson he'd never guessed he was such a neophyte with the bat.
"He's handled the bat really well this spring, for a guy that has little or no experience in the box," Weiss said. "He's gotten bunts down. He's shown a good swing. I've been impressed with that."
But Anderson's ability as a batsman wasn't the reason Rockies sent pitchers Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen to the Athletics for him.
The first two runs were courtesy of a two-out throwing error in the fourth by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, playing for the first time since being hit on the left calf by a pitch from the D-backs' Wade Miley on Wednesday night. He left a changeup in a poor location that Nady swatted over the left-center field wall.
Anderson displayed a lively fastball and slider, and had some good changeups. He gave up three runs in the fifth. But two were ground-ball singles, and Everth Cabrera poked a ball off the foul line in right for a triple. Cabrera would score on a groundout.
"Minus the horrendous pitch to Xavier Nady, it was pretty good," Anderson said. "It was pretty much like my last outing. I got a lot of ground balls  again. Hopefully, I can continue that trend. I got through six innings, didn't walk anybody."
Masset's latest surgery yields positive news
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies non-roster invitee right-hander Nick Masset once again has to be patient.
Masset hasn't appeared in a Major League game since 2011. After nine Minor League games in 2012, he underwent right shoulder surgery, then underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome and missed 2013. Doctors removed a rib on the upper right side to relieve compression of nerves and/or blood vessels. The condition was slowing his healing from shoulder surgery.
Late last week, Masset left camp so St. Louis vascular surgeon Dr. Robert Thompson could operate Friday on a staph infection at the site of the TOS surgery. Luckily for Masset, the infection had not spread to his rib cage as was originally feared.
Masset had missed time earlier in the spring to attend the birth of his second child, which was a happy event that didn't disturb his preparation. The staph infection was a scare.
"It was just on the outer surface, so that could have been a different thing -- out three or four weeks as opposed to missing three days in Spring Training," Masset said. "Right now, I feel great. It's all clean, no more staph. I'm playing catch again. I'd like to throw off the mound again today and hopefully be in a game by Wednesday.
Masset was back in Rockies camp Monday and hoping to soon pitch in games. He hopes to have time to prove he's ready to break camp with the big club, but if not, he'll be an experienced Major League arm at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Masset, 31, was a successful setup man with the Reds before the original injury, which led to surgery to repair an anterior capsule in the shoulder.
"The decision is not up to me and it's something I really don't focus on -- I focus on getting myself ready to get hitters out," Masset said. "They just want me to make sure I get in the work I need to get in to be able to compete at a high level. We've got a couple weeks left, and I can get in a couple Minor League games if I need to get in. It's just a joy to be moving forward now.
"I've come this far. Now at this point they want me to go at the pace I need to go at to keep myself healthy for 162 games-plus, hopefully, the playoffs. I'm looking forward to getting back on the hill again."
Logan looks comfortable in simulated game
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Boone Logan looked comfortable in a two-inning simulated game of about 30 pitches on Monday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
Logan signed a three-year, $16.5 million deal with the Rockies as a free agent after pitching the previous four seasons with the Yankees. But he underwent surgery to shave a bone spur and remove bone chips from his throwing elbow last October, and the Rockies are taking a careful approach with him. Logan believes he will be make about five Cactus League appearances and be ready for the regular season.
The first inning was understandably rough. Right-handed-hitting Matt McBride lined a pitch to left-center field that would have gone for extra bases and left-handed-hitting Tim Wheeler homered. In the second frame, Logan threw sliders that the hitters chopped into the ground.
Rockies catcher Michael McKenry called out from behind the plate to compliment Logan on the downward angle of his pitches in the second inning, and later said Logan quickly moved toward form.
"As the simulated game progressed, he started to trust it a little more so his stuff got better," McKenry said. "He was able to do some things he was used to being able to do. At the beginning it was like a normal bullpen, and I'd say the last three hitters he faced he was probably pretty normal. He threw a lot of really good sliders, especially toward the end. He started to get a feel for it and they didn't sniff it after that."
Cuddyer not worried by low spring batting average
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Maybe Rockies outfielder-first baseman Michael Cuddyer is saving his good fortune for the regular season.
Cuddyer, who hit .331 last season to win the National League batting title, went 0-for-3 Sunday against the Dodgers to drop his Cactus League batting average to .154 (5-for-26).
"Health is No. 1, and I want to feel good -- my legs feel good around the bases and stuff," Cuddyer said. "The least of my worries is how I feel at the plate and all that stuff. After another 500 or so at-bats, that stuff will work itself out.
"You still pay attention [to the stats]. You're still a competitor. You want to go out there and have some results. But I'd say it was about six or seven years ago that I focused on the feel rather than the results. Once you've had a couple good years under your belt, you realize you're not going to [lose it]. I've been hitting the ball well but zero results in my last 10 at-bats."
Cuddyer normally turns hot at some point before the regular season begins. He has a .327 career spring average.
• The Rockies will take Tuesday off, but right-hander Tyler Chatwood will pitch in a Minor League game.
• Asked about the fact several deserving players could find themselves in Triple-A Colorado Springs when camp breaks, Weiss said those guys won't be forgotten.
"It's going to be tough, but what I'm going to try to communicate to whoever that is or whoever gets sent out is to make sure they keep their mind right," Weiss said. "We're going to need all these guys during the season. As tough as it is, get past the fact they're not breaking camp with us and understand they're going to be with us at some point."
Weiss, in his second year and with greater knowledge of the entire group of players than he had last year at this time, will have a big hand in the decisions, but there will be plenty of input. The staff will meet later this week and begin work on the season-opening roster, although many decisions could come to the end of camp.
"I want as many opinions out on the table as possible," Weiss said. "I like the fact we have some former players back in camp that can be a part of those meetings. They have a pretty good feel for what it takes and a good eye for what it's supposed to look like."
• Righty Chad Bettis continued his push with a solid inning with one strikeout. He has made six scoreless appearances and had left hitters 3-for-18 against him this spring. A starter until the Rockies converted him late last season, Bettis is making bullpen decisions difficult.
• Also making an impression in the bullpen is Tommy Kahnle, another hard-throwing righty who is a Rule 5 pick from the Yankees. If he doesn't make the squad, Kahnle would have to be offered back to the Yankees. If there isn't room for him, the Rockies might have to engineer a way to keep him. Kahnle threw a perfect eighth and has a 1.42 ERA in nine appearances.
"He's another one -- a power right arm," Weiss said. "I've been impressed with his changeup. I didn't know his changeup was as good as it is."
Non-roster invitee Chris Martin, who came from the Red Sox in a trade and made a splash early in camp, gave up two runs and three hits in the ninth and has a 5.68 spring ERA.
• Rockies left-handed-hitting outfielder Jason Pridie often isn't talked about in the competition for outfield at-bats. But Pridie, who has played in the Majors with the Twins, Orioles and Phillies, went 4-for-4 with a double against the Padres Monday, and is batting .344 this spring.
Most of the attention in camp has gone to Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson, young left-handed hitters competing for starts. Pridie is a non-roster invitee, but he has caught Weiss' eye. Pridie, who can play all three outfield positions, could fall into the category of a player who could help later.