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Marquez making case for start vs. Nationals

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- Right-hander German Marquez's nine-strikeout performance for Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday received strong reviews and should put him in line to start Tuesday night against the Nationals -- when the Rockies again need a fifth starting pitcher.

Throwing under a 75-pitch limit in the Isotopes' 8-3 victory over Reno, Marquez gave up a double to open the second inning before fanning six straight and, eventually, seven of eight. He yielded two runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. The mix of secondary pitches with his power fastball drew positive reactions from Rockies manager Bud Black, who was careful not to make an announcement about Tuesday even though indications point that way.

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DENVER -- Right-hander German Marquez's nine-strikeout performance for Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday received strong reviews and should put him in line to start Tuesday night against the Nationals -- when the Rockies again need a fifth starting pitcher.

Throwing under a 75-pitch limit in the Isotopes' 8-3 victory over Reno, Marquez gave up a double to open the second inning before fanning six straight and, eventually, seven of eight. He yielded two runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. The mix of secondary pitches with his power fastball drew positive reactions from Rockies manager Bud Black, who was careful not to make an announcement about Tuesday even though indications point that way.

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"The curveball was effective and the fastball was located, had velocity -- hence the nine punchouts in four-plus -- that's a good ratio," Black said.

Marquez, the Rockies' No. 4 prospect, fell short in competition for the season-opening rotation but the Rockies thought enough of him to keep him in the bullpen. However, he wasn't needed in a game, so the Rockies optioned him April 9 so he could rebuild his pitch count. In 10 innings over three Triple-A appearances, including two starts, he has a 2.70 ERA and 18 strikeouts against eight hits.

Marquez, obtained from the Rays with lefty Jake McGee for outfielder Corey Dickerson and Minor League infielder Kevin Padlo before last season, made six appearances at the end of last season. The Rockies believe he can be a solid Major League starter if he can find consistency with the secondary pitches.

The downward-angle changeup is improving, with confidence being a key, but the curve appears to have arrived.

"He's got spin and he's got arm speed, and it's a matter of timing," Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster said. "It's an 'out' pitch and an 'in' pitch for him, so it's a big pitch. He can start counts. He can finish counts. When he's landing that pitch, he's dangerous."

Of the fastball, Foster said, "It's easy cheese, and incredible confidence for a young 22-year-old."

Worth noting

Rockies outfielder David Dahl, out since early Spring Training with a stress reaction in the sixth rib, began a hitting progression with 30 dry swings Saturday -- a day after positive news from a bone scan Friday. Dahl will stay with the club through the Arizona trip at the end of next week, then return to the team's complex in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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

Colorado Rockies, German Marquez