Matzek finishes spring work ahead of home opener

Southpaw 'blessed' to receive honor of kicking off Coors Field slate

Matzek finishes spring work ahead of home opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Tyler Matzek is happy to be done with the abbreviated outings of Spring Training and looking forward to the Rockies' April 10 home opener against the Cubs.

Matzek finished his Cactus League responsibilities Tuesday with four innings, during which he gave up two runs on four hits and two walks against the Giants.

"Today for example, Fostie [pitching coach Steve Foster] came up and said, 'Good job -- you only went four but you threw 77 pitches, but in the regular season you're back out there,'" Matzek said.

He'll likely throw a simulated game between now and the home opener, which ended up in his hands after lefty Jorge De La Rosa became unavailable because left groin tightness marred his preparation. As a rookie last season, Matzek went 6-11 with a 4.05 ERA in 20 games (19 starts), but was 4-4, 3.61 at home.

"Everyone talks about the whole altitude thing, but the game is really the 60 feet between the rubber and the plate," said Matzek, the Rockies' first-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Capistrano Valley High in Mission Viejo, Calif. "If you get the guy to mishit the ball, it doesn't matter. You've got to be able to make your pitches where he doesn't barrel the ball out.

"It's a huge opportunity. Not many guys can say they've started a home opener. I'm blessed for that opportunity."

Rockies manager Walt Weiss said, "Originally, it was De La Rosa, for good reason, but Tyler has pitched well there also. It's a good fit."

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.