Notes: Fogg hard on himself after loss
Pitcher had more success at plate than on mound
TUCSON, Ariz. - Josh Fogg didn't have much to be happy about when he came out of Tuesday's game against the Diamondbacks in the fourth inning. If nothing else, he could be happy he'd already won a spot in the Rockies rotation.
Staked to a 6-0 lead before ever taking the mound, Fogg left the game trailing 11-9 after 3 2/3.
Wind gusts in the neighborhood of 40 mph could take credit for the length of the home runs Fogg served up, but Fogg knew where to lay the blame. He threw four long balls in all, including three from Scott Hairston, who'd been informed he'd made the team earlier in the day.
"Pretty impressive day for him, not so much for me," said Fogg. "It was just a bad, bad day. I left too many balls up in the zone. You never want to have days like this. Not very much fun for me."
Fogg's final tune-up will take place Sunday in Tucson in a Minor League camp game against fellow starter Jason Hirsh while the rest of the club works out in Denver on the eve of Opening Day. But the kind of day he had against the Diamondbacks wasn't one that calls for tinkering with a given pitch.
"They were literally all bad today," Fogg said. "I threw some decent curveballs, but other than that, my cutter was up, my changeup was up, and my fastball was inconsistent. Most of the pitches that were hit were pitches that were up in the zone. It's an in-game adjustment I didn't make today. I pride myself on being able to make in-game adjustments. I just wasn't able to do it today."
Fogg's best success came at the plate, where he took advantage of an outfield playing him shallow to hit a pair of RBI doubles.
"I was a much better hitter than I was pitching today," Fogg said. "I told [Matt] Holliday I think he should have pitched today and I should have been in the four-hole. Might have been a little better results."
Manager Clint Hurdle couldn't argue with Fogg's self assessment.
"I hated taking him out," Hurdle said. "I missed his bat in the lineup."
Be like Brett: Hurdle likely would have missed Holliday's bat as well, had he followed Fogg's advice of switching the slugger with the starting pitcher.
Though Holliday struck out his first two times up, he finally caught up with D-backs rotation candidate Dana Eveland in his third at-bat, launching his third Cactus League homer, a two-run shot that soared over the right-center-field picnic area. With the wind or without, Holliday left no room for debate about the power of his clout, reaching for a pitch down and away and driving it beyond the fence.
"He's got top shelf power, and it's from line to line," Hurdle said, favorably comparing the way Holliday has matured at the Major League level to a Hall-of-Fame teammate of Hurdle's from his Kansas City days. "George Brett never hit .300 in the Minor Leagues, never showed any power in the Minor Leagues. There's a number of guys like that, for whatever reason. It's fun to watch."
Promise in the 'pen: Byung-Hyun Kim had an effective outing Tuesday, making his first Cactus League appearance since losing his bid for the fifth starter's job to Fogg. Kim pitched a scoreless inning in a "B" game Sunday, and held down the D-backs for his first 1 1/3 innings of relief before yielding a run in the sixth.
"I was happy with his outing today," Hurdle said. "He got in a sequence in his third inning where he got out of sorts a little bit, lost his command. But the best role he can fit in to help this team is that one. He stepped up today, and I felt he did a pretty good job at it."
Hurdle confirmed that he is proceeding with the idea of Kim starting the season in the Rockies bullpen, though trade rumors continue to circulate.
"That's our plan," Hurdle said. "Things are always day-to-day. Late in Spring Training, things get exciting."
Deep depth: Regardless of what level of excitement the Rockies hit in the final days of Cactus League play, the club is confident it has the depth to handle whatever challenges come its way.
"Knock on wood, we've had a pretty clean spring, healthwise," Hurdle said. "We have had springs in the past where we've lost two-fifths of our rotation in the last five days. That was a concern and a focus going in, to create depth, to create versatility, create some competition in some key areas. And that has played itself out very, very well."
The depth in all areas gives the Rockies room to breathe easy despite back-to-back ankle injuries to catcher Yorvit Torrealba and right fielder Brad Hawpe and back-to-back blowouts from fourth and fifth starters Jason Hirsh and Fogg, who gave up three and four homers, respectively.
Though the competition for the rotation is closed, there is no shortage of viable candidates knocking on the door, including Kim and Taylor Buchholz, both starters who are slated to begin the season in the bullpen, and Ubaldo Jimenez and Brain Lawrence, both slotted for the rotation in Triple-A.
"We've got all kinds of options, if push would come to shove," Hurdle said. "But we haven't played Opening Day yet."
The comeback catcher: Torrealba was on the field playing catch Tuesday, a day after spraining his right ankle running to first base against Oakland. He is still considered "day-to-day," but appears to be recovering quick enough to hold his spot on the Opening Day roster.
On tap: Opening Day starter Aaron Cook makes his final tune-up outing Wednesday, traveling to Mesa to take on Mark Prior and the Cubs at 1:05 p.m. MT.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.