Tulowitzki, Gonzalez sleek on bases; Rockies lose to D-backs
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Rockies sluggers Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez raced around the bases at the same time and without difficulty Wednesday night, clearing another hurdle in their return from season-ending operations last year as a Colorado split squad lost 6-2 to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Tulowitzki cruised into third on Gonzalez's double to right field off Arizona starter Jeremy Hellickson in the fourth inning. Both later scored and declared themselves pain-free.
''First time on the bases. First time going from first to third,'' Tulowitzki said. ''In the (regular) season, hopefully I score on that.''
Tulowitzki is coming back from a hip operation and Gonzalez from knee surgery.
''I was flying,'' Gonzalez said, smiling. ''I thought I was going to catch Tulo at third base. No, I felt really good coming out of the box.''
Hellickson pitched three hitless innings before allowing two runs and four hits in the fourth, an improvement over his previous start.
Cuban rookie Yasmany Tomas went 2 for 4, but also committed his second error of the spring at third base for Arizona.
After not allowing a run in six spring innings, Rockies top prospect Jon Gray gave up three straight hits and made an error that started a three-run first.
Diamondbacks: Hellickson, the lone new Arizona pitcher to have seemingly secured a rotation spot, didn't get out of the second inning in his previous start.
''It's nice to have a pretty good start after a rough one,'' he said.
Rockies: Gray, in his second big league camp, finished strong with consecutive strikeouts of Mark Trumbo and Jake Lamb on sliders. Gray's fastball hit 96 mph.
''If I was in the same spot last year, it would have gone south,'' Gray said. ''I should have taken care of the first inning, but I'm just glad I made some positive changes.''
KENDRICK GETS NOD
Rockies newcomer Kyle Kendrick will start the season opener April 6 in Milwaukee, moving Jorge De La Rosa to the home opener four days later against the Chicago Cubs.
The team confirmed the move after scheduling a simulated game for Kendrick earlier in the day that tweaked his schedule.
Kendrick signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal last month after spending the past eight seasons in Philadelphia. The right-hander has never started on opening day.
The move means De La Rosa won't have to rush his preparation as he returns from a groin strain - and he gets to pitch in his comfort zone.
De La Rosa was 10-2 with a 3.08 ERA in 15 home starts last season. The lefty was 4-9 with a 5.09 ERA in 17 road starts.
Diamondbacks right-hander Daniel Hudson passed another test in his quest to become a starter again following two elbow-reconstruction surgeries.
Hudson allowed one hit, one walk and struck out three in two scoreless innings in a minor league game.
''The best thing was when he was done he said he felt great,'' manager Chip Hale said.
It was the third two-inning outing for Hudson, who returned last season as a reliever after missing more than two years.
Does Hudson have a shot at making the rotation?
''If he feels good (Thursday), then I think it is more realistic,'' Hale said.
Right-hander Brad Ziegler, coming off September knee surgery, pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the same game.
''The best thing about it, the last guy hit a groundball to first and he had to cover . and there were no issues,'' Hale said.
Diamondbacks: Arizona prospect Brandon Drury played second base, a day after leaving a game when he was hit on the left elbow by a pitch. ''He's had such a good camp,'' Hale said. ''This next cut is going to be hard.''
Rockies: Manager Walt Weiss said INF Daniel Descalso (oblique) could return in a few days.
Diamondbacks: RHP Rubby De La Rosa starts Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.
Rockies: RHP Jordan Lyles starts against Kansas City on Thursday.