TEMPE, Ariz. -- Unflappability in difficult innings was a key reason the Rockies targeted right-hander Kyle Kendrick in free agency this winter. No time like his first Spring Training start to display it.
Kendrick, signed for one year and $5.5 million (with an additional $500,000 if he reaches 190 innings) after eight seasons with the Phillies, minimized the damage after loading bases with no outs in his first Cactus League inning for his new club, against the Angels on Friday. Matt Joyce's sacrifice fly yielded the only run, and he finished the inning by forcing a Erick Aybar fly to right and striking out Collin Cowgill. Kendrick gave up one hit and no runs in his second and final inning.
"It should be all pitchers' strength -- you're going to get into jams once or twice, three times in a game," Kendrick said after leaving the Rockies' eventual 3-0 loss. "You don't want to give up three or four there and our team has a hard time climbing back."
Kendrick, 30, who spent much of Friday's outing working on his sinker and changeup (the curve will come later), is a veteran addition to what figures to be a young starting staff. After Jorge De La Rosa, who turns 34 on April 5, the projected rotation has Jhoulys Chacin, 27, Jordan Lyles and Tyler Matzek, both 24.
"He's got some knowledge and he's willing to share it," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "You lead by having discipline and [conviction] about what you do and trying to make those around you better. Kyle has been great. He's a true pro in every sense."
While the Rockies were attracted to his calm, which he developed by pitching in homer haven Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, he allowed himself some excitement for a new team.
"I was excited to get this new chapter in my life going," Kendrick said.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.