Notes: Kim impresses before washout
Righty solid for three frames before rain halts action
PHOENIX -- Rockies right-hander Byung-Hyun Kim turned off his mind and turned on his best fastball on Thursday.Kim is a thoughtful sort who listens and tries to incorporate new ideas. He also enters games with a detailed plan. But sometimes during games, he spins out of whack while analyzing and tinkering, whether it's with his mechanics or the plan itself. But for three innings, before rain and hail stopped his start against the Brewers with the Rockies leading, 2-0, Kim stayed with the four-seam fastball that he throws best and yielded one hit, struck out three and walked two in three innings. Other pitches that Kim had convinced himself he needed, he left on the bus. Kim pitched his game and didn't worry. "I try the changeup, two-seamer, but I have to check balance and a lot of things mentally," Kim said. "Today was just simple and my balance was better. "Pitching is more mental. If I want to pitch this way, I have more balance." Kim, squarely on the trading block and with scouts' radars up, had given up at least one run in each of his four previous appearances. He coughed up eight runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings against the Giants in his last start. The weather stopped him at 52 pitches on a day he was supposed to throw 100, but he demonstrated that he can record outs and bad swings by challenging hitters inside with the fastball to keep them off the slider and the fastball on the outside corner, where he likes to put his payoff pitches. "B.K.'s been around enough to know what's going on, what he needs to do," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. The minus on a day of pluses is the walks came with two out. But pitching coach Bob Apodaca said Kim had his best outing in terms of how hitters reacted. "He pitched a couple of right-handers where he got really funny swings, check swings, foul balls," Apodaca said.
Needing work: The problem with the weather was it stood in the way of the Rockies' plans to have relievers work on consecutive days. Apodaca wanted to see Matt Herges again after the non-roster veteran gave up a run and two hits in two-thirds of an inning against the Mariners on Wednesday.The Rockies want to do that with pitchers for the remainder of the spring, so they'd rather not have to deal with rainouts. Already, the Rockies have added a "B" game against the White Sox on Sunday, and some pitchers will work in Minor League games in the coming days. Choices, choices: You could drive yourself nuts swinging with the daily performances when trying to determine who the Rockies' 25th man will be. John Mabry, whose home run to right through a stiff wind on Thursday will not count in the official standings, Alexis Gomez, whose towering fly ball to right nearly went out, and Ryan Spilborghs, who did not play in the game, all have solid numbers. Hurdle said roster makeup and matchups will figure heavily in the decision, since the players have upheld the performance requirement. "You've got to look at your lineup, the extra men that you already have," Hurdle said. "What need do you have? Are you doubling up on a [player] you already have? There's the versatility issue, which closing and setup men are right- or left-handed. A lot of things come into play. "The thing you want to have happen in camp is for all the players to play well. Sometimes the tougher decisions are when they have performed well in the past and they're not performing well now, or there's a certain need you're looking at and nobody's performing well." Mabry and Gomez are left-handed hitters. Spilborghs and Gomez are strictly outfielders, while Mabry can play any of the corners. Spilborghs and Gomez are more mobile defensively, but Mabry has played a variety of roles for good teams. Getting taller: Third baseman Garrett Atkins, trying to reach a higher defensive level, has adopted a slightly higher stance. Third-base coach and infield instructor Mike Gallego felt the 6-foot-3 Atkins was hindering his lateral movement with his crouch. "I'm trying to start a bit higher, to open my range up a little bit to the left and right," Atkins said. "I have a tendency to start a little bit too low, and when you do that, you have to come up a little bit first before you can go right or left." Sorry: Brewers right-hander Carlos Villanueva, a strong-armed young pitcher who will be the long man and spot starter early, hit Rockies catcher Alvin Colina on the left jaw in he second inning. "I don't think it hit him square," Villanueva said. "I think he got time to get his arm up, because if it would have hit him square, he would have been on the ground a lot longer. He told me it didn't really get him, but it got him enough. "Scary, I would imagine. It can't be fun being hit there and us, as pitchers, you never want to hit a guy above that safe area. I apologized to him." Colina stayed in the game. Up next: The Rockies, led by right-hander Aaron Cook, will meet the White Sox and right-hander Gavin Floyd on Friday at Hi Corbett Field.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.