Morales commanding attention in rotation bid

Southpaw slated to throw two innings in Rockies' Cactus League opener

Morales commanding attention in rotation bid

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Franklin Morales hopes to show how much he has grown since the last time he wore a Rockies uniform.

Morales, who began his career with the Rockies from 2007-11 and has spent the time since then as a Red Sox reliever, was traded back to the Rockies this winter and is vying for a rotation spot. Morales will start the first Cactus League game on Friday against the D-backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

During his first go-round with the Rockies, Morales began as a starter before being moved to the bullpen. Now, like then, he can throw a fastball, cutter, curveball and split-finger pitch -- a power pitcher's mix. But there's more maturity these days.

"When you're young, you try to throw 100 percent every time, and that's the trouble with young pitchers," Morales said. "Now, I know what I'm doing now. I know how to stay calm. All my command is good right now. All I need to do is attack the hitter."

Morales is scheduled for two innings, and relievers scheduled to throw are lefty Tyler Matzek, the club's top Draft pick in 2009, righty Adam Ottavino and lefty Rex Brothers.

The Rockies also announced they will play an intrasquad game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Thursday. Righty Tyler Chatwood, a member of the starting rotation, and former Rangers, White Sox and Reds reliever Nick Masset will pitch. However, many eyes with be on righty Jon Gray, the club's top Draft pick last year, and Eddie Butler, a supplemental first-rounder in 2012 -- two prospects who are expected to have a Major League impact, sooner or later.

Also throwing are lefty Jason Aquino, righty Christian Bergman, righty Raul Fernandez, lefty Kraig Sitton and righty Scott Oberg.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.