Photo by Associated Press.
Originally Published: March 29, 2016 11:43 p.m.
SCOTTSDALE — Nobody has had a better spring training this year than Nolan Arenado. And Tuesday was more of the same.
Arenado homered twice and singled, raising his spring average to a major league-best .580, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-1.
Arenado hit solo shots off Arizona starter Anthony Banda and closer Brad Ziegler. The slugging 24-year-old third baseman has five home runs this spring, along with eight doubles and a triple. He has 29 hits in 50 at-bats and has struck out only four times.
Of course, Arenado knows it's only spring training.
"Obviously the stats don't count and obviously I know it doesn't count," he said. "But from a mental (standpoint) it makes me feel good to know I'm right where I need to be and I'm going into the year very confident. The worst thing would be going into the year having a little bit of doubt, but I feel good, I like where I'm at and hopefully I can keep this form going into the season."
Charlie Blackmon hit his fifth home run of the spring, off the Diamondbacks' Daniel Hudson.
Colorado's Chris Rusin, in his second start since returning from a finger injury, allowed a run on five hits in three innings.
Arizona ace Zack Greinke pitched four innings in an intrasquad game on a side field, giving up one run on six hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
Greinke pitched in an intrasquad game rather than face the team he will see Monday on opening day.
He said he threw about 60 pitches.
"Pretty good," Greinke said. "I threw a lot of strikes, some really good off-speed pitches, some good fastballs. It was pretty good all the way around."
The plan was to ease off the number of pitches, he said, "kind of resting up for the regular season."
As for opening day, Greinke said: "I'm looking forward to it. I think I'm as ready as I will be."
Colorado manager Walt Weiss had some good news for a couple of his players.
He told Tony Wolters he would make the opening day roster as the backup catcher. And he told 23-year-old Trevor Story he would be the starting shortstop.
"As a manager most of the conversations you have, especially this time of spring, are tough ones," Weiss said, "so every once in a while you get to have a good conversation here or there, and I certainly did with Story and with Tony."
Rockies: Rusin threw 48 pitches as he tries to stretch his outings until he is able to make a deep run as a starter.
"I feel really good, no pain in my finger or anything," he said. "I wasn't thinking about it when I was out there, so that's a good thing. I can cross that off and not worry about it and just continue to get ready for the season."
Diamondbacks: Banda was brought up from minor league camp to make the start and allow Greinke to throw elsewhere. Banda allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits in four innings.
Diamondbacks: CF A.J. Pollock, sidelined much of the spring with a sore right elbow, took four at-bats against Greinke and got two singles. Manager Chip Hale said he hopes Pollock can play against Kansas City in one of the exhibition games at Chase Field this weekend.
"I faced Zack today for four at-bats. I think that's worth about 30 at-bats," Pollock said. "I had some tough at-bats. He just gets you really, really locked in. He's such a good pitcher, such a dynamic pitcher that can throw a million pitches and hit his spots. For me, four at-bats against him is huge."
Rockies: RHP Jorge De La Rosa, Colorado's opening day starter, makes his final spring start, and RHP Jeremy Jeffries goes for Milwaukee when the teams meet Wednesday in Phoenix.
Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller makes his final spring start and LHP Sean Doolittle goes for Oakland when the Diamondbacks play the Athletics in Mesa.