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Lyles pleased with Saturday performance

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles concentrated on breaking pitches and felt good about his 4 2/3-inning outing against the Indians on Saturday.

Lyles gave up five runs, but just two were earned, in the eventual 14-6 Rockies victory. The fifth inning featured errors by catcher Jordan Pacheco and first baseman Justin Morneau, and the Indians ended up with four runs. Lyles did escape trouble the previous inning.

"I thought I did a pretty good job," said Lyles, who has a 3.18 spring ERA. "We had a double, then another double, then got a big strikeout with a guy on third with less than two outs, then we got another strikeout. We did a good job minimizing the damage before it escalated. I thought Pacheco and I handled the situation pretty good."

A pitcher with the Astros the last three seasons before joining the Rockies along with outfielder Brandon Barnes in a trade for center fielder Dexter Fowler, Lyles, began camp working on a small delivery flaw that robbed him of downward motion on his fastball. That project went well, then he moved to the curve.

"Going into the start yesterday, I felt like the curveball hadn't been there because I was focusing on inside and out with the fastball," Lyles said. "The gameplan was to throw 15-20 curveballs, and make sure I got them to finish up under the zone, not arm side up and out. I threw probably around 20 of them and maybe two or three were left up over the zone. It was a pretty good day in that aspect."

Lyles is competing with left-hander Franklin Morales for the final open spot in the rotation. Morales could go to the bullpen. But if Lyles doesn't win the job, he'll likely be sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs as a starter.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.
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