Notes: Rox' Fogg wants quicker innings

Notes: Rox' Fogg wants quicker innings

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The quicker Rockies right-hander Josh Fogg's innings go, the better.

"If the batter is seeing six or seven pitches against me, I'm probably going to have a lot of crooked numbers on the board," he said.

Fogg had another incentive on Saturday. The quicker he was done, the quicker he could get back to his wife, Jessica, and new son, Koy Lee Fogg, who was born Dec. 5 and was seeing his dad pitch -- as much as a 3-month-old can -- for the first time.

An efficient Fogg threw up two zeroes in his first Spring Training appearance. The Rockies lost to the Angels, 9-8, at Hi Corbett Field, but Fogg's attempt to hold off competition for his starting rotation spot was off to a good start.

Fogg worked on his curveball, a pitch that abandoned him in recent years, but still was able to complete his work quickly in the third and fourth innings. He struck out one, Angels catcher Mike Napoli, the final hitter.

"Fogg was very, very sharp, used all his pitches and executed them very well," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.

Fogg wants to use his curve -- his "out" pitch in the Minors -- to right-handed hitters and early in the count against lefties. He'll hone the pitch this spring and concern himself with how it will react in the Mile High atmosphere.

"It got bad in Pittsburgh, so it wasn't anything to do with Coors Field," Fogg said. "It's just a matter of getting confidence back in it. It's going to be good for me to be able to use it in situations I normally wouldn't be able to. The more I use it, the more confident I'll be during the season."

Scratch now, (hopefully) win later: The Rockies scratched first baseman Todd Helton from the lineup Saturday because of right knee inflammation and announced him as "day-to-day." Helton said the problem was "no big deal," adding that there was no specific injury event.

"It's Spring Training," Helton said. "If it was the season, it would not be a problem. But it's a month before the season, so there's no reason to push something."

Spring work: Righty Byung-Hyun Kim, who also faces competition for his rotation spot, gave up a run and three hits -- and saw some balls hit hard -- in his two innings. As he promised going into Spring Training, he relied on fastballs.

"We saw some good movement with the two-seamer," Hurdle said. "I think we've still got to continue to push B.K. and reassure him the importance of pitching both sides of the plate, not letting hitters get comfortable looking out over the plate. For the most part he was able to make his pitches and get the ball down."

Kim also said he was a little fatigued when he took the mound, but that was by design.

"Normally, I throw a 30-pitch warmup, but today it was maybe 40 to make my body tired a little bit, so it was like I pitched into the fourth or fifth inning," Kim said.

Triple the excitement: Even in Spring Training, a triple play is special. Steve Finley of the Rockies hit a low line drive that became one in the third inning, with Dustin Moseley on the mound. With runners at first and second, Angels first baseman Casey Kotchman grabbed the smash by Finley, then flipped to Moseley covering first to double Garrett Atkins.

The Rockies' Kazuo Matsui was standing on third, and Kotchman threw to shortstop Erick Aybar to complete the play.

Matsui said he thought Finley's liner bounced before Kotchman caught it.

Hurdle said first-base umpire Chris Guccione ruled that Kotchman didn't make the catch, but second-base umpire Tony Randazzo overruled him.

Pinch me: To be effective in his role this season, Jeff Baker will have to learn to be effective off the bench, whether it's as a pinch-hitter or in double-switch situations. It's an art usually best performed by veteran players, so Baker, a rookie, knows he has to learn quickly.

"It's not until toward the middle of Spring Training, when your swing starts going good, that you can really do that," Baker said. "But approaching it as a pinch-hitter is only going to help when the season comes around."

Baker played his newest position, first base, during Friday's intrasquad game. He also plays third base, his original position, right field and left field.

On the Rox: Left-handed-hitting outfield hopeful Jeff Salazar, who drove in the winning run against the White Sox on Thursday and doubled in the intrasquad game on Friday, knocked a two-run homer to right field in the eighth inning Saturday against Angels right-hander Jose Arrendondo and an RBI double in the ninth off righty Alex Serrano as he continues to put himself in the running for an outfield job. ... Third baseman Ian Stewart, who impressed the Rockies with his bat last spring, made a standout glove play on Saturday by going behind the bag to grab Nick Gorneault's grounder and make a leaping throw for the out. ... It was not a big day for the three left-handed relievers, each of whom pitched an inning. Tom Martin yielded three runs on three hits, including a two-run Tommy Murphy homer, and one walk. Josh Newman gave up four hits and four runs, and Mike Gallo was touched for two hits and a run. ... Clint Barmes, battling for the shortstop job, made a strong relay throw to the plate in the first inning to retire Kotchman, who was trying to score from first base on Kendry Morales' double to right.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.