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Bettis' adjustments starting to pay off

Righty strikes out four, gives up two runs in five innings in Rockies' win
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Righty Chad Bettis spent earlier outings testing various parts of his delivery, and it paid off Monday, when he threw five strong innings in a 4-2 Cactus League victory over the D-backs.

In his last outing, a "B" game against the Angels, Bettis worked on the balance of his delivery and initially had difficulty forgetting the mechanics and pitching with freedom. But on Monday he struck out four and held a regular D-backs lineup to two runs on six hits.

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Righty Chad Bettis spent earlier outings testing various parts of his delivery, and it paid off Monday, when he threw five strong innings in a 4-2 Cactus League victory over the D-backs.

In his last outing, a "B" game against the Angels, Bettis worked on the balance of his delivery and initially had difficulty forgetting the mechanics and pitching with freedom. But on Monday he struck out four and held a regular D-backs lineup to two runs on six hits.

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"There were a couple of pitches I felt got away from me a little bit, but for the most part I tried to approach this as game-like as I possibly could," Bettis said.

Bettis' fourth inning started with hits by A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt, then he induced Jake Lamb into a double play and eventually forced Ketel Marte to line out, giving up just one run in the fourth. He allowed another in the fifth.

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Bettis used his cut fastball and a changeup, and was happy with the movement. He ran his fastball to 92 mph -- a tick above his best in the "B" game.

"Honestly, I feel like there's a lot more [velocity] in there, but today approaching it like a game, you try to find your times to add a little bit," he said. "But it was more so keep everything under control. However hard it's going to come out, it's going to come out."

Bettis also used his developing quick-pitch and, as usual, pitched with a high tempo.

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"What I liked was the pace at which he threw, the fastball command, and the change," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "All his pitches were crisp, he kept ball down and moved it around. In my eyes, that's how Chad Bettis works."

Stating his case

Righty Antonio Senzatela, trying to improve his pitch mix in an effort to make the season-opening rotation, knifed through four scoreless innings, with one hit and two strikeouts. He started working against front-liners, but many of the substitutes he faced had Major League time. Though the changeup has to become a greater part of his repertoire, his outing was similar to his better ones last season, when he dominated with the fastball.

Video: TEX@COL: Black, Senzatela on hurler's spring start

"He hit spots away to the righties, in to the lefties," Black said. "The glove-side fastball was really good today, and some good breaking balls, as well."

Position competition

Ryan McMahon, who has impressed the Rockies with his defensive aptitude at first base and his offensive start but must show his hitting against frontline pitching during the final two weeks of Spring Training, went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. But his best at-bat was a bases-loaded, two-run double past first base during a left-on-left matchup against Andrew Chafin.

"A hanging breaking ball from Chafin -- we've seen 'Mac' stay on some breaking balls, which is good to see," Black said. "That one hung from Chafin, and Mac hit is squarely, got it in the right spot."

Video: McMahon on his spring, Black on slugger's approach

• Outfielder Mike Tauchman was productive throughout. He was hit by a pitch, walked, stole a base and, in the sixth, tripled to right field against Brad Boxberger. Tauchman also made a standout catch on an A.J. Pollock drive in the first inning. Tauchman has a .316 spring average as he pursues a job off the bench.

Tom Murphy, trying to become part of the Rockies' catching picture, delivered an RBI single in the fourth off Chafin.

• Outfielder David Dahl's best plate appearance came with two on and no outs in the fourth, when he fell behind Chafin, 0-2, but ended up walking after seven pitches.

Injury report

Non-roster utility infielder Shawn O'Malley (fractured left hand) expects to have the cast removed at the end of this week and will be in a brace, so he can start exercising.

"I can't stand this thing -- I'd probably be better off if, instead of a cast, I had a baseball glove on my hand so I could use my forearm a little bit more," O'Malley said.

Up next

Lefty Kyle Freeland, hoping for improved efficiency as he competes for a rotation job, will start Tuesday against the Mariners at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick at 2:10 MT. Bullpen members Mike Dunn, Adam Ottavino and Bryan Shaw are also expected to appear. The game can be seen on MLB.TV or heard on Gameday Audio.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Chad Bettis