Weiss optimistic about rotation's progress

Young starters coming along after early struggles in Spring Training

Weiss optimistic about rotation's progress

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With 14 games remaining in Spring Training, the Rockies' projected starting rotation has been healthy and generally competent enough to raise the confidence level of manager Walt Weiss.

The latest bright sign was righty Tyler Chatwood's four innings Saturday, which were stellar after a walk and a Jemile Weeks homer to open the 5-5 tie against the Padres. Lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who starts Sunday against the Giants, and righty Chad Bettis have anchored the rotation as the Rockies hoped they would. Righties Jon Gray and Jordan Lyles are coming off solid starts after some struggles.

"I feel good," Weiss said. "Jorge and Bettis have thrown the ball very well. 'Chatty,' all signs are positive coming back [from 2014 Tommy John surgery]. Jonny Gray has been working on some things and his last outing was real good. Jordan Lyles, same thing."

Bettis, Weiss on great start

It's not a rotation that has folks predicting a National League West title. But coming off two rough stating pitching seasons in a row, the Rockies go into the year believing better is possible.

"For the most part, the outings have been very competitive," Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said. "It's been a Spring Training mixture of working on certain things and wanting to do well, and wanting to get into a rhythm and perform.

"You can't go crazy one way or another. You try to keep a rational perspective on it, but yeah, they have been competitive."

Depth would be a question if there were any such thing as a team with too much starting pitching. Even against that backdrop, the Rockies have struggled in that category. Thus far, there have been injuries to lefty Chris Rusin (left middle finger) and righty David Hale (right hamstring).

Rusin, who is out of Minor League options, isn't on the schedule the next three days and Weiss said it may be difficult for him to avoid the disabled list to start the season. Hale is slated for 30-35 pitches Monday against the Rangers at Surprise, Ariz., in his 2016 Cactus League debut.

A couple of spot-starter types -- righty Christian Bergman, who projects as the bullpen long man, and non-roster lefty Yohan Flande -- have had solid enough springs to be considered should one of the projected five sustain a late-camp injury.

The Rockies have recently given Major League innings to three prospects: righties Jeff Hoffman (the club's No. 5 prospect), Antonio Senzatela (No. 12) and German Marquez (No. 14). All three have been sent to Minor League camp -- Hoffman to Triple-A Albuquerque, Senzatela and Marquez to Double-A Hartford -- but they are on the radar.

"I feel like we have depth," Weiss said. "Some of it is young. We'll be healthy, hopefully, soon enough, so it's not like we have major injuries. These are minor injuries and they're going to be in the mix here real soon."

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.