Scottsdale, Ariz. Troy Tulowitzki homered, Franklin Morales struck out seven over five innings in a strong audition for a spot in the Colorado rotation, and the Rockies beat the Kansas City Royals 8-2 Monday.
Tulowitzki wrapped his third homer of spring training around the left field foul pole off former Rockies teammate Jeremy Guthrie in the second. The three-time All-Star finished 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and is hitting .160.
Charlie Culberson added a two-run double in the third. Guthrie allowed four runs and six hits in five innings.
Morales gave up an unearned run, thanks to his own error, and three hits. The left-hander made a wild pickoff throw to first base that hit the umpire. But he threw 73 pitches as he tries to beat out Jordan Lyles for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
“In some of these decisions, it’s not just player-to-player and who won,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “You’ve got to take into consideration the design of the club and how the pieces fit. But he’s made a case for himself.”
Colorado’s Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer off Spencer Patton in the sixth, two days after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch.
Royals: Guthrie threw 93 pitches and wasn’t concerned with his 7.04 spring ERA. He’ll throw 60 pitches in his final start before the April 4 home opener.
“I feel like I’ve gotten the arm strength up and feel like I’ve been able to execute some pitches,” he said.
Rockies: With left-hander Boone Logan (elbow) possibly starting the season on the disabled list, Colorado might choose to put Morales in the bullpen.
“How do we align these pieces to take our best shot?” Weiss said. “And that evolves. It’s ever-changing.”
Royals: Manager Ned Yost said second baseman Omar Infante (elbow) felt good in a workout and is scheduled to play in a minor league game Tuesday. He’ll play five innings in the field and bat five times.
Rockies: Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin said his shoulder felt fine after throwing 30 fastballs off the mound Sunday. Chacin said he’ll throw four or five more bullpens before throwing batting practice. The Rockies expect him to return in early May.
Logan threw 15 pitches in a minor league game Monday without difficulty.
Corey Dickerson doubled and made a leaping catch at the wall of Alex Gordon’s drive in the fourth, helping the left-handed hitter’s chances to be part of Colorado’s likely platoon in center.
With Drew Stubbs’ trouble against righties (career .226 average), Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon are each having good springs. And right-handed Brandon Barnes is hitting .340. He’ll be away until Thursday because of the birth of his child.
“Not only viable options, but good options,” Weiss said. “I’m not overly concerned about it.”
Patton, Tim Collins and Kelvin Herrera combined to give up four runs and four hits over the final three innings.
“The bullpen has not been real sharp here in the last week,” Yost said. “A lot of that has to do that with bullpen guys, it’s a real adrenaline position. We’re in the last week of spring training and they’re ready to go.”
Yost was upset Sunday when the Giants insisted on playing by NL rules, forcing pitcher Yordano Ventura to hit.
More like stand at the plate and take three strikes, as he did twice under orders from Yost.
With the Royals playing in another NL park Monday, the Rockies were more accommodating, as both teams played with a DH. And the Rockies have played several home games this season in which they’ve had the pitcher hit while the opponent used a DH.
“I have no ambitions of winning the Cactus League,” Weiss said.
The Royals optioned utility player Jimmy Paredes to Triple-A and sent pitcher Jon Rauch and catcher Adam Moore, both non-roster invitees, to minor league camp.