Ottavino back on mound, trying to not rush rehab

Lyles, Senzatela shut down opposing hitters

Ottavino back on mound, trying to not rush rehab

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rockies relief pitcher Adam Ottavino has sought magic in monotony for the 11 months since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. But before taking a big step Friday, by throwing off a mound for the first time, he took a moment to look ahead.

"I've stood on the mound a little bit, to look at the view from up there," Ottavino said, before throwing his 15 allotted pitches Friday. "But I've tried to be as patient as I can be and do everything according to protocol."

It takes a long period of recovery and rehab to be cleared to go from flat ground to the mound, since a pitcher's body and mechanics must be strong enough to allow him to throw properly and safely stop his momentum. None of this quickens the timetable for a return to Major League competition, which could be June but might be after the All-Star break.

Ottavino, 30, has stayed engaged with his teammates by talking baseball, even going over videotape with them to help with the mental game, but he also forced himself to not become so engrossed in the coming season that he pushes too hard and creates a setback.

"I try not to be too excited about it because I still have a long way to go, but it's exciting," he said. "It's been a long time."

Lyles on the rebound

Righty Jordan Lyles entered in the fifth and threw four scoreless innings, with two hits, two walks and a strikeout, in Friday's 6-6 tie with the Angels. It was a markedly better performance than his last outing -- four runs and five hits in 2 1/3 innings against the Dodgers.

Rockies, Angels play to Cactus League tie

"Most importantly, I wanted to work on being more aggressive -- attacking guys, not giving in, getting my body language out there more aggressive," Lyles said.

Manager Walt Weiss said Lyles "looked very efficient, did a good job -- just better tempo and better use of the fastball. Everything just looked better."

Senzatela navigates

Right-handed pitching prospect Antonio Senzatela, 21, the Rockies' No. 12 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, would have rather blown away the Angels, but pitching through four hits and two walks while holding a tough lineup to two runs in three innings displayed competitiveness.

"I wasn't nervous; I was excited," said Senzatela, who was optioned to Double-A Hartford after the game. "Yuniel Escobar, [Albert] Pujols and Mike Trout in the same lineup, it was good experience."

Trout and Pujols were a combined 0-for-4 against Senzatela.

Senzatela's retires Pujols

"He was throwing fastballs by some of the best hitters in the game," Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said. "They were fouling them off, couldn't catch up. … You could see the talent, and hopefully he proved to himself he's tough to hit when he's making his pitches."

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Weiss said, "That's a big deal, pitching against that lineup. He handled himself well. He had to labor a little bit in the second inning, but first and third inning, very good."

Senzatela, a Valencia, Venezuela, native, said lefty veteran Jorge De La Rosa and Tyler Chatwood, along with other Spanish-speaking pitchers, have given him advice. He also said former Rockies star Pedro Astacio, who is in Spring Training and has worked with him at the club's complex in the Dominican Republic, has emphasized the competitiveness and mound presence he showed Friday.

Worth noting

• In his first spring start in left field, Mark Reynolds fielded a long Daniel Nava single in the first and earned an assist when his throw set up shortstop Trevor Story to nail Yuniel Escobar at third. In the third, Reynolds made a running catch on a Pujols drive in the bullpen, and a sliding grab of a Trout popup, barely avoiding a collision with Story.

"I was really impressed -- this is a tough day to play the outfield, with the sun and high Arizona sky -- and he handles some really tough chances," Weiss said.

Reynolds' amazing diving catch

• Third baseman Nolan Arenado went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple to drive his spring batting average to .600. Story was 2-for-3 to improve to .321, with a pair of two-out RBIs. He has 10 Cactus League RBIs.

Arenado's triple

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.