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Notes: Martin adjusting delivery

Notes: Martin adjusting delivery

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Tom Martin is adjusting his delivery in hopes of justifying the confidence the club showed by reserving a bullpen spot for him.

Martin hasn't pitched since yielding a home run to the Mariners' Raul Ibanez on Wednesday, but has been studying videotape and working on a lower, sidearm arm angle.

The motion is not new. Martin dropped from high three-quarters to sidearm on occasion last season, when he went through bad and good steaks while going 2-0 with a 5.07 ERA in 68 appearances.

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Martin, 36, badly needs to change. Opponents have a .529 batting average, with four of the nine hits against him sailing for home runs this spring. He likes what his new motion has produced in bullpen sessions.

"It's getting me more sink on the ball," said Martin, who said he has the freedom to switch to his old motion at any time. "I'm throwing strikes, but they're too high in the zone. By dropping down, it's giving me a chance to get the ball down low in the zone. It's feeling pretty good."

The Rockies have guaranteed Martin $800,000 this season. By reassigning non-roster lefty Mike Gallo to Triple-A, they're demonstrating that they're behind the commitment. But if the struggles continue into the season, they can go to Gallo, who pitched off and on for the Astros from 2003-06.

Corpas moves forward: Right-hander Manny Corpas, 24, was electric at times during his late-2006 Major League trial, and this spring has thrown six scoreless appearances and two saves. Corpas gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, then forced a double-play grounder and easily ended the inning Saturday.

Manager Clint Hurdle said he would like to use Corpas in the seventh inning, but he needs to see crisp outings before the season arrives.

"His situation, people take for granted that because he pitched well last season, he's going to come in and be better," Hurdle said. "Well, last year nothing was expected out of Manuel. He went to pitch for Panama [in the World Baseball Classic], did great, started in the Minor Leagues, worked to the big leagues.

"Now, this year, he's one of the guys you want to look to and count on. There's a little bit bigger load to carry."

He's well, and needs to get better: Right-hander Ramon Ramirez last pitched Sunday, when he gave up a grand slam to the Rangers' Matt Kata. He became ill on the Rockies' off-day Monday, but was better and working out in Tucson.

Ramirez has given up five hits and walked two in 4 1/3 innings and is chasing Corpas in the competition for the eighth and final bullpen spot that currently exists. Things could change if the Rockies are successful in their attempt to trade Byung-Hyun Kim, who is unhappy about being assigned to the 'pen.

"I finally feel good today after being sick," Ramirez said. "The last game I wanted to throw my slider, and I didn't throw a good one."

Ramirez, 25, turned in the top performance for any Rockies rookie last season while going 4-3 with a 3.46 ERA in 61 games. His 61 strikeouts represent a club rookie record.

In the zone: Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis held the Angels to one run on seven hits in six innings of the Rockies' 11-1 victory Saturday at Tempe, Ariz. He struck out two, but the big news is he walked a batter.

Francis has walked just two in 23 2/3 Cactus League innings.

Francis wanted to throw 100 pitches Saturday, but he threw 90 through six innings and had to step aside to let relievers work.

"It's not a goal, not having walks, but it's always nice to throw a lot of strikes and go after hitters," Francis said.

His increased use of the two-seam sinking fastball is helping, pitching coach Bob Apodaca said. Francis usually depends on pinpoint location on the corners, but the two-seamer allows him to throw more aggressively in bigger parts of the strike zone.

"Last year, he threw it, and when we talked, he caught himself being not as aggressive as he wanted," Apodaca said.

Playing to the end: John Mabry went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple to bring his spring average to .423. Ryan Spilborghs knocked a solo shot and has a .435 average. Alexis Gomez went 1-for-3 and is batting .355. So no one is dropping out of the competition for the 25th roster spot.

"We just might have to [wait as late as possible to make a decision] because the competition is so stiff," Hurdle said. "Everybody's doing so well."

Fogg happy: Right-hander Josh Fogg said being told he had beaten out Kim for the No. 5 starter job "feels a lot better than it feels when they tell you they can't use you."

Like Kim, Fogg has been mentioned in reports of possible trades. But Fogg's arbitration-induced $3.625 million salary gave teams pause. Kim is making $2.5 million.

Fogg, 30, hopes to be a bargain. He has never won more than 12 games, but feels he can increase the number.

"It's a matter of eliminating two or three bad games a year, and I think I can," Fogg said. "I had some games last year where if I could've gotten out of the fifth inning, I'd have gotten a win."

Up next: The Rockies (right-hander Brian Lawrence) will face the Diamondbacks (right-hander Edgar Gonzalez) at Hi Corbett Field on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. MT. Right-hander Rodrigo Lopez will pitch in a morning "B" game against the White Sox at Hi Corbett Field.

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

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{"content":["spring_training" ] }
{"content":["spring_training" ] }