Passionate Anderson to start Cactus opener

Passionate Anderson to start Cactus opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson realizes the two innings or 30 pitches he'll throw in Saturday's Cactus League opener against the D-backs aren't likely to be remembered in October -- or April, for that matter. But Anderson is a competitive fellow.

The game will start at 1:10 p.m. MST at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick with Gameday Audio available. 

"Once there's somebody in a different uniform and someone's keeping score, it means something to you," Anderson said. "Even if you're working on something, you don't want to go out and get crushed. Hopefully, you have some success with it."

After recovering from an oblique injury suffered last spring, Anderson made his Major League debut June 12 and went 5-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 19 starts -- 5-2, 3.00 in 12 starts at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Anderson used fastball command and a well-regarded changeup, however, his most defining trait is a competitiveness that can be seen from every corner of the stadium. It's a good trait if channeled properly.

Anderson strikes out seven

The Rockies are paying attention to his ability to gather himself at key stress points. This has nothing to do with his ejection on Aug. 13 in Philadelphia -- when he was tossed in the fourth inning for hitting Maikel Franco after the Phillie homered in the first inning. Both sides said they didn't believe anything was intentional, even though plate umpire Eric Cooper took action.

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"We've talked about that," new manager Bud Black said. "There's a part of me that really digs that. I really love that emotion -- long as the emotion doesn't get in the way. But I don't want anybody to change who they are. That's what we love about Tyler.

"The beauty of it is he knows what he does. He knows at times it has worked against him. But emotion, more often than not if channeled the right way, really works for you."

Anderson, a Rockies first-round pick in the 2011 Draft, said the Cactus League opener is nice for some action after a winter of projections that the Rockies could surprise.

"It's exciting for anybody in the Rockies organization," Anderson said. "We have a lot of talent and a lot of people that really want to win. If everyone's pulling for the same goal, we can be dangerous."

Worth noting

• Righty reliever Adam Ottavino faced only left-handed hitters Friday during a live batting practice. Last season, Ottavino held right-handed hitters to a .136 average and .350 OPS, while lefties hit .256 with a .780 OPS. He finished strong against lefties, but has been working on adjustments.

Ottavino on relievers innings

• After Anderson pitches Saturday, the Rockies plan to use righty Antonio Senzatela for two innings, then relievers for one inning apiece -- righties Jordan Lyles, Scott Oberg and Miguel Castro, and lefties Sam Moll and Jerry Vasto.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. 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.