Notes: Battle for final roster spot hot one

Notes: Battle for final roster spot is a hot one

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The roster sizes are dwindling and the Opening Day light at the end of the Spring Training tunnel is beginning to shine brighter and brighter.

But the heat isn't getting to Rockies' Alexis Gomez, John Mabry and Ryan Spilborghs -- the trio believed to be fighting for Colorado's final roster spot. All three say they are satisfied with what they have done this spring and feel no pressure to make a last-minute surge to secure a spot with the team.

"I think the impressions have already been made," said Spilborghs, who had a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth inning of Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks. "We've been here five weeks. I would hate to think one at-bat in the last week is really going to make the difference."

All three had late-game at-bats off the bench Sunday -- exactly the situation the winner of the battle likely will be asked to perform in come the regular season.

"We play in the National League, and there is a lot of pinch-hitting and double switches, so I know that is going to be my job," said Gomez, who had a single Sunday. "I feel like I'm ready to do that. Last year with Detroit, I did good in that position."

Mabry, the 36-year-old veteran of the bunch, said his biggest priority to make a serious run at making the team was to stay healthy.

"You come in every year and don't know what to expect from your body as you get older," Mabry said, who was hitless in his only at bat Sunday. "But I have a pretty good program going, and I've felt pretty good about the way things have gone this spring. I've come in here and gotten the things done this spring I wanted to get done, but I don't know what is going to happen. Everyone here has had a great spring. Everyone is hitting the ball."

So good, in fact, that the trio are all three among the team's leading hitters this spring.

Spilborghs is hitting .458 in 24 at-bats.

Gomez, who hit .272 last year with Detroit, is hitting .375 with six RBIs in 31 at-bats and Mabry is hitting .407 in 27 at-bats.

"I think I've done a good enough job of putting pressure on these guys to make this a tough decision," Spilborghs said.

He also credited much of his preparedness this spring to playing winter ball in Mexico, where he said he got to play center field on a regular basis and got in "about 200 more at-bats than most guys" because of it.

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, who didn't address the media Sunday, isn't expected to make a decision on Gomez, Mabry and Spilborghs until the the final moments of the spring.

"As long it's before the game starts April 2," Spilborghs said, "it doesn't matter to me when they make the decision."

Lopez cruises: The way Rodrigo Lopez pitched in Sunday's B game with the White Sox at Hi Corbett Field, you'd never know he was struggling through a brutal spring.

The Rockies' No. 3 starter, who has a 9.00 ERA in three Cactus League games, pitched an efficient seven innings (innings three through nine) against Chicago for the win. He faced 25 batters, throwing 79 pitches, allowing two earned runs on five hits and striking out four with no walks.

Pitching coach Bob Apodaca said he was happy with what he saw from the righty on Sunday, "and I'm hard to please," he said. "I saw great inroads to what he needs to do do get consistent. He accomplished a lot."

Apodaca said Lopez was keeping the ball down in the zone well and was working very fast through his first six innings until giving up a two-out triple in the ninth that seemed to rattle him. But the pitching coach said he liked Lopez's fastball and his breaking ball "had a real good tilt to it."

Lopez is 1-2 this spring (B games do not count toward spring records). He has allowed 19 hits, 12 earned runs and four homers in 12 innings.

Brian Fuentes pitched the first inning of the B game, striking out two of the three batters he faced.

Byung-Hyun Kim, recently relegated to the bullpen, faced four in the the second inning, with one runner reaching on an infield error. He forced two groundouts and a popup to center.

Lawrence feels awesome: Brian Lawrence, who threw six nice innings in a loss Sunday to the Diamondbacks, said his right shoulder is feeling "awesome," but thinks the Rockies want more proof the surgically repaired shoulder that kept him out of last season is healthy.

"I think they want me to pitch a few more times, every fifth day before they're assured of where it's at," Lawrence said. "But as far as my end, I feel awesome."

Tulowitzki wins award: The impressive spring turned in by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki already earned him the starting nod at shortstop. On Sunday, it also earned him the organization's Abby Greer award as the team's Spring Training MVP.

The award is named after Rockies fan Abby Greer, who was hit by a car and killed after a Colorado game on Aug. 26, 2002. She was just 6 when she died.

Included in the inscription on the plaque presented to Tulowitzki before Sunday's game: "The recipient of this award best represents Abby's love of the game, her pursuit of perfection, and her desire to be the best she could be, whether it was climbing trees or playing sports."

Previous winners of the award have been Luis Gonzalez (2004), Cory Sullivan (2005) and Ian Stewart (2006). Entering Sunday's game, Tulowitzki was hitting .342 in 13 Cactus League games, including five doubles and six RBIs.

Geoff Grammer is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.