April 04, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Eddie Butler was shaky in his final audition for a starting job, giving up a two-run home run to Logan Morrison and balking in a run in the Colorado Rockies' 6-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Manager Walt Weiss wanted to see the 24-year-old pitch effectively after the right-hander didn't get out of the first inning in his last start due to a tired shoulder. Butler said he was healthy, but was charged with five runs and six hits while getting seven outs.

''Everything felt good with that, but just a couple bad pitches today,'' Butler said.

Weiss said they'll decide Sunday whether Butler or Christian Bergman gets the last roster spot.

Justin Morneau hit a solo home run in the second off Seattle starter Taijuan Walker, only the second run he allowed in 27 innings. Walker finished spring training with a 0.67 ERA, more than enough to earn the fourth rotation spot.

Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz each singled off Butler before exiting early in the teams' final exhibition game.

STARTING TIME

Mariners: Walker didn't allow another hit after Morneau and struck out two in two innings. It's the first time the 22-year-old has been on a major league opening day roster. ''I've been dreaming about this for a long time,'' Walker said.

Rockies: Butler said he saw a pickoff sign, then hesitated before eventually throwing toward third because Rafael Ynoa wasn't at the bag for the run-scoring balk. ''I'm happy with my spring,'' Butler said. ''Couple games I wish were better, obviously today.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (groin strain) said he'll throw live batting practice Sunday in Milwaukee. ''It's still a little sore, but not bad,'' he said. ''But I haven't thrown anything, so I have to make sure I'm OK.'' Weiss said he'd likely need a minor league start before he was ready. . Corey Dickerson (back) started in left and made a sliding catch on Cruz's fly in the second.

MORRISON BUSTS OUT

Morrison credits his hitting coach with helping him bust out of a slump.

''Howard Johnson kind of banned me from the cage. I was taking too many swings,'' Morrison said. ''It wasn't any more than I was taking in Seattle, but it's a little cooler in Seattle.''

Morrison said he got too technical as he went 0 for 19 before ''clearing out all the noise.'' He followed Friday's RBI single by crushing Butler's misplaced fastball to left in his first at-bat.

It was a nice way to head into Monday's opener against the Los Angeles Angels.

''Can't wait to play in front of a sold-out crowd,'' he said.

GRAY LEARNS

Rockies top prospect Jon Gray was packing up his locker Saturday morning, a day after the right-hander was sent to Triple-A Albuquerque.

''It's tough, but at the same time it's a reality check of what I need to work on,'' Gray said.

That includes his pregame routine and fielding his position. ''But I finally feel like a big league pitcher,'' he said. ''It's encouraging.''

AXFORD'S SON

Reliever John Axford struck out two in a hitless inning and was heading to Milwaukee with the Rockies despite his 2-year-old son facing another week in the hospital.

''He's having a couple surgeries,'' Axford said.

Jameson Axford has been hospitalized since March 25 when he was bitten twice on the right foot by a rattlesnake at the family's rental home in Scottsdale.

Weiss said Axford and Adam Ottavino will be the team's late-inning right-handers, with Boone Logan being the lefty setup man.

UP NEXT

Mariners: Ace Felix Hernandez faces the Angels on Monday in Seattle's first home opener since 2008.

Rockies: RHP Kyle Kendrick makes his first career opening-day start Monday against the Brewers.

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