March 09, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Troy Tulowitzki was upset at failing to drive in a run and Carlos Gonzalez described opening day-like jitters, but the Colorado Rockies stars were happy to be pain-free in their return from season-ending injuries during a 2-2 tie with a Cincinnati Reds split squad on Monday.

Tulowitzki, a four-time All-Star shortstop, struck out looking and popped to the catcher with a runner on third in his first game since July 19.

No longer worried about the torn labrum in his left hip that ended a 2014 season in which he was hitting .340, the competitive Tulowitzki was concerned with his performance.

''I didn't get the guy in,'' Tulowitzki said. ''Whether it's my first or second game, I expect more of myself than that. There's no way I should pop to the catcher in that situation.''

But it's only spring training.

''That's me,'' he said.

Gonzalez, a two-time All-Star, tapped back to the mound, walked and made a running catch in right in his first game since Aug. 8. He then had surgery to repair a patella tendon in his left knee.

How nervous was he? Gonzalez started running to first after fouling a ball off his foot.

''I was more concerned about running down the line than hitting the ball,'' Gonzalez said. ''I guess we can work on things like that. It just feels good to be pain-free.''

Both played three innings and all four plate appearances came against Reds starter David Holmberg. He allowed four hits and struck out three in three scoreless innings.

The game was stopped after nine innings.

STARTING TIME

Reds: Holmberg worked out of a jam in the third and was happy to be facing a full lineup that included third baseman Nolan Arenado, who doubled off the wall in the second.

Holmberg believes he's in good position as he contends for one of two open rotation spots.

''I feel pretty good, but you never know what the manager is thinking,'' Holmberg said. ''There are a lot of good arms competing for these spots.''

Rockies: RHP Jordan Lyles allowed two runs - one earned - and two hits in his second two-inning sprint of the spring. He didn't get much help from his defense. Brandon Barnes couldn't come up with a sliding catch in center that was ruled a hit, and Daniel Descalso dropped a liner at second in a two-run second inning.

''I continued to work on my changeup,'' Lyles said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: Brandon Phillips (groin) started at second and went 0 for 3 a day after he was held out of the lineup. ... C Devin Mesoraco (concussion) and OF Billy Hamilton (shoulder) remained sidelined.

Rockies: Ace Jorge De La Rosa (groin) will throw a bullpen session Tuesday and is scheduled to make his spring debut Thursday.

BROTHERS RETURNS

Rockies reliever Rex Brothers pitched a perfect sixth inning that included striking out Phillips in his first spring appearance.

Brothers had been held out of games as he worked on mechanics after blowing six saves and posting a 5.59 ERA a year ago.

''Good arm speed. He was just out there competing,'' Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. ''He wasn't thinking about anything else.''

PRICE'S HOME GAME

So why did Reds manager Bryan Price travel to Scottsdale when Cincinnati was also playing at home in Goodyear?

Price wanted to see Phillips return from injury. He also got a chance to watch Holmberg. But there was something else.

''When push comes to shove, truth be told, I live about 10 minutes from the ballpark here,'' Price said, smiling.

UP NEXT

Reds: Ace Johnny Cueto makes his second spring start Tuesday against Milwaukee.

Rockies: Jhoulys Chacin and prospect Eddie Butler are scheduled to throw in a split-squad game Tuesday at the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kyle Kendrick and closer LaTroy Hawkins will pitch in the home game against Seattle.

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