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Tauchman honored with Abby Greer Award

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Mike Tauchman earned the 15th-annual Abby Greer Award as the Rockies' Spring Training Most Valuable Player. A spot on the season-opening 25-man roster may not be far off.

Tauchman is batting .345 (20-for-58) this spring. He entered Sunday tied for the Major League lead in spring triples with four, plus had nine runs, three doubles, one home run and five RBIs. Tauchman played in a Minor League game (1-for-5 with a home run) on Sunday, instead of the Rockies' 8-3 Cactus League loss to the D-backs.

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Outfielder Mike Tauchman earned the 15th-annual Abby Greer Award as the Rockies' Spring Training Most Valuable Player. A spot on the season-opening 25-man roster may not be far off.

Tauchman is batting .345 (20-for-58) this spring. He entered Sunday tied for the Major League lead in spring triples with four, plus had nine runs, three doubles, one home run and five RBIs. Tauchman played in a Minor League game (1-for-5 with a home run) on Sunday, instead of the Rockies' 8-3 Cactus League loss to the D-backs.

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The award, named for a 6-year-old girl and avid sports fan who lost her life in an accident near Coors Field in 2002, is chosen with an eye toward players graduating from the Minors. Tauchman, who hit a career-high 16 homers and batted .331 at Triple-A Albuquerque before seeing spot duty in the Majors (6-for-27 in 32 plate appearances), qualified under that criteria. His performance in many areas earned him the award.

Video: ARI@COL: Black on Tauchman, Abby Greer Award

"It's an award this organization thinks very highly of," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "We watch all our players in Spring Training to see how those guys go about their business. 'Tauch' had a great spring, not only on the field but in practice sessions, in the clubhouse when we're talking Rockies baseball, just his interaction with our entire group.

Rockies Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Schedule

"He's put himself in a real good spot. He's swung the bat. He's played defense. He's run the bases. He's stressed the things that we put in front of him on the field. He's tested his limits on a number of things, which is great. He's a heady ballplayer. We think he has the mental toughness that if he doesn't start a ballgame, he's very capable of coming off the bench and contributing."

A 10th-round pick out of Bradley University in 2013, the left-handed hitting Tauchman has never hit below .286 in any Minor League season, and found home run power through careful study and adjusted timing in his swing before last season.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I feel good that I came into camp in good shape and with baseball skills," Tauchman said. "I feel I put myself in a good position to get off to a good start, and I got an opportunity to play a lot -- early in camp and throughout camp.

"Anytime that you're recognized not only for what you've done in the box score, but the way you go about your business, the work you put in, it's an honor. I'm very appreciative."

Back-field tuneup

The Rockies moved lefty starter Tyler Anderson to a game on a back-field against a D-backs Triple-A club, since Anderson is in line to start the second regular-season game against the D-backs on Friday. In 4 1/3 innings, Anderson gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits, with three strikeouts and three walks, with 43 of his 71 pitches going for strikes.

The appearance ended a spring of so-so results, but Anderson said his arm has felt better each outing and the regular-season atmosphere -- complete with pregame scouting reports, which aren't a part of Spring Training -- should only help.

Video: 30 Clubs in 30 Days: Tyler Anderson on his approach

"During the season there will be a lot more adrenaline than there was in that game today; I feel like if somebody sneezed in the stands, I could hear them," Anderson said. "Adrenaline is fun. Not only does it boost your strength and ability to throw a little bit harder, but it intensifies your focus.

"I like to know exactly what I'm going to do. If not, I can get a little squirrely. If I have a solid plan in place, I'm fine."

Also, Nolan Arenado went 1-for-5 with a home run and Carlos Gonzalez was 2-for-5 with a double on Minor League fields.

Injury report

Rockies right-hander Jeff Hoffman, who threw four innings this spring before suffering right shoulder soreness, returned to the mound Saturday with his first bullpen session since the injury. He is expected to pitch in Minor League games sometime in April.

Roster moves

The Rockies optioned right-handed reliever Jairo Diaz to Triple-A Albuquerque, and reassigned left-hander Harrison Musgrave, right-hander Brooks Pounders and infielder Daniel Castro to Minor League camp.

Up next

Right-handers German Marquez and Antonio Senzatela will pitch on the back fields at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Monday. Righty Chad Bettis will start Tuesday's Cactus League finale, at home against the Mariners at 1:10 p.m. MT. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.

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, Mike Tauchman