Middlebrooks, Solarte stay hot, Padres beat Rockies
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Will Middlebrooks and Yangervis Solarte gave no ground in their tight competition for San Diego's starting third base job, each driving a run in the Padres' 10-3 victory over a Colorado Rockies split squad Wednesday.
Middlebrooks had an RBI single in the sixth and went 1 for 3. He's hitting .357.
Solarte, who started at first, had an RBI single in the third off Rockies starter Tyler Matzek. He went 1 for 4 and is at .344.
Middlebrooks was acquired in an offseason deal with Boston after an injury-filled 2014. The Padres got Solarte last summer when they traded third baseman Chase Headley to the Yankees.
''They're playing with enthusiasm. They're competing hard,'' Padres manager Bud Black said. ''We have a little bit of a track record with Solarte based on half a season last year. And Will is coming into camp trying to make the most of an opportunity. He's doing his thing.''
Padres non-roster invite Cody Decker, best known for his elaborate minor league pranks that he turns into YouTube films, hit a grand slam off Scott Oberg in the eighth. It was his second homer of the spring.
Carlos Quentin doubled twice for the Padres. Drew Stubbs had a solo homer and RBI single off Padres starter Tyson Ross.
Padres: Ross used a nasty slider to strike out five in two innings, four of them on balls in the dirt. But the right-hander lost control of his out pitch in the third.
Ross had three wild pitches and threw away a pickoff attempt as the Rockies scored twice. He gave up three runs and three hits while getting 11 outs. He worked in some changeups, a new pitch.
''It's a pitch that I know is going to be big for me this year,'' Ross said, ''getting guys off the fastball-slider combo.''
Rockies: Matzek allowed two runs and three hits before leaving with one out in the fourth. The left-hander struck out three, hit two batters and issued a walk.
Matzek's ERA climbed to 6.75, but he's still set to break camp in the rotation for the first time.
''They thought I was going to be a reliever last year, they sent me down and a couple months later I'm in the big leagues as a starter,'' Matzek said. ''It's way different this year.''
Padres: RHP Brandon Mauer (back) made his first appearance since March 6, working around a hit and walk in one scoreless inning.
''He's a little rusty,'' Black said.
Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (groin) is scheduled to make his Cactus League debut Friday against Oakland.
The Padres sent OFs Alex Dickerson, Rymer Liriano and Rico Noel to minor league camp. ... C Wilin Rosario is away from the Rockies following the death of his grandfather. Rosario is expected back Thursday night.
ROAD FROM FOOTBALL
After Kyle Parker left with broken ribs in his final game as Clemson's quarterback in 2010, he began a much more low-profile road in baseball that's entering its fifth year with the Rockies.
''It tests yourself in how willing you are to put the work in,'' the 25-year-old Parker said.
Parker started in right and went 0 for 2 with a walk. He's hitting .304 with four doubles.
Manager Walt Weiss called Parker ''an interesting guy'' because of his rare right-handed power and his ability to play left, right and first.
Parker made his major league debut last season, hitting .192 in 18 games. He's part of a crowded outfield and Weiss said he needs to be more consistent.
''I'm confident in my abilities that if I prepare and play the way I'm capable of, I'm going to end up in a good situation somewhere,'' Parker said.
Padres: They're off Thursday, but RHP Andrew Cashner will throw 60 pitches in a minor league game. RHP Ian Kennedy starts Friday night vs. Kansas City.
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray was to start Wednesday night's split-squad game against Arizona. RHP Jordan Lyles starts Thursday against Kansas City.