FREE­LAND A CON­TENDER FOR RO­TA­TION DE­SPITE ROUGH OUT­ING MON­DAY

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

sur­prise, ariz.» Crunchtime is ar­riv­ing fast as the Rock­ies sort out their 25-man ros­ter dur­ing the fi­nal days of spring train­ing. So there was a lot on the line for left­handers Kyle Free­land and Har­ri­son Mus­grave on Mon­day in a Cac­tus League game against Texas.

Nei­ther pitcher’s raw num­bers were crunchtime wor­thy, but both did enough good things to leave man­ager Bud Black with some pos­i­tives to chew on.

Free­land, who has been sharp most of spring train­ing, was not at all sharp Mon­day, giv­ing up four run on seven hits and three walks. Mike Napoli crushed a long, solo homer off Free­land in the fourth. Free­land needed 94 pitches in less than five in­nings of work, which is too many.

Still, Black found some things to like, in­clud­ing the fact Free­land didn’t let things com­pletely un­ravel in a game the Rock­ies lost 6-5.

“His con­trol and com­mand was not what we have seen in the pre­vi­ous three games,” Black said. “But he bat­tled, and he made

Otto’s strug­gles. Right-han­der Adam Ot­tavino, al­ways a tough self-critic, used the word “ter­ri­ble” to de­scribe his per­for­mance this spring. But he also said he’ll get his re­lease point fixed be­fore the reg­u­lar sea­son be­gins, thus gain­ing com­mand of his fast­ball and usu­ally wicked slider. The right-han­der has a 5.19 Cac­tus League ERA with 10 strike­outs and seven walks in 8M in­nings.

“This spring, prob­a­bly the thing that has sur­prised me the most is that he’s been vari­able with his com­mand, with his lo­ca­tion,” Black said. “I think that is ab­nor­mal for him. But I know there were a cou­ple out­ings where he was try­ing to work­ing on things and his me­chan­ics, so shut­down in­nings weren’t re­ally a pri­or­ity.”

Ros­ter moves. The Rock­ies made three ros­ters moves Mon­day, op­tion­ing out­fielder Raimel Tapia to Triple-A Al­bu­querque and re­as­sign­ing in­field­ers Daniel Cas­tro and Rafael Ynoa to mi­nor-league camp. Tapia, one of the club’s top prospects, had a solid camp, hit­ting .269 and field­ing well, but with the out­field al­ready crowded with left­handed hit­ters, the Rock­ies will start him at Triple-A to make sure he gets enough at­bats.

The Rock­ies now have 38 play­ers in ma­jor-league camp, in­clud­ing five non­roster play­ers: out­fielder Chris Denor­fia, first base­man/oufielder Stephen Car­dullo, catcher An­thony Bem­boom, Mus­grave and Free­land.

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