Rox prospects Murphy, Herrera among first spring cuts

Weiss says Murphy has 'shutdown arm,' Herrera 'very toolsy'

Rox prospects Murphy, Herrera among first spring cuts

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Two of MLB.com's top 10 Rockies prospects, catcher Tommy Murphy and outfielder-infielder Rosell Herrera, were among the first cuts from Major League camp on Saturday.

Herrera and right-handed pitcher Jorge Rondon, claimed off waivers from the Cardinals during the offseason, were on Colorado's 40-man Major League roster, so they have been optioned to the Minors. Non-roster invitees Murphy, right-handed pitchers Justin Miller, Jose Ortega and Gus Schlosser, and left-handed pitchers Buddy Boshers, Yohan Flande and Jason Gurka were reassigned to Minor League camp.

Murphy made it to Double-A Tulsa before the end of 2013, his first full professional season, but his quick rise was halted by right-shoulder issues that limited him to 27 games last season at Tulsa. Now he can prepare for the season with consistent playing opportunities, and manager Walt Weiss likes the way Murphy's arm has recovered.

"It's a shutdown arm," Weiss said.

Herrera, a switch-hitting leadoff type who played in last year's Futures Game, played just 72 games last season because of wrist injuries. Herrera has played mostly shortstop and third base but is making the transition to center field.

"Playing a new position, he's a very exciting player, very toolsy player, great energy," said Weiss, who added Herrera will still play some infield.

Top Prospects: Herrera, COL

Weiss also said the club has decided that Flande, who started in 10 of his 16 Major League appearances last season, and Schlosser, who came in a trade with the Braves, will be relievers after doing some of both last season.

Flande held opponents to a .222 batting average in his first 25 pitches of games in 2014. Those averages climbed gradually -- .239 on pitches 26-50, .264 on pitches 51-75 and .386 on pitches 76-100.

Schlosser went 0-1 with a 7.64 ERA in 15 relief appearances for the Braves last year. At Triple-A Gwinett, he was 7-6 with a 4.18 ERA, when he started 15 of his 25 appearances.

Rondon earned 10 saves in 51 appearances last season at Triple-A Memphis and is a candidate for closer at Triple-A Albuquerque to start this season, as is Miller, who went 2-1 with a 1.81 ERA and five saves in 38 games at Triple-A Toledo last year in the Tigers' organization.

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.