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Dahl wants to give Rockies tough OD decision

Tapia tests limits on basepaths; McMahon continues hot spring at plate
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

PHOENIX -- David Dahl understands it makes sense for the Rockies to send him to Triple-A Albuquerque to start the regular season, but he wants to make them think twice about it.

Dahl's 1-for-3 performance in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Brewers brought his overall Cactus League batting average to .208. However, since an 0-for-15 start that saw him strike out nine times, Dahl is 11-for-38 (.289) with five home runs, 14 RBIs, four walks and six strikeouts.

PHOENIX -- David Dahl understands it makes sense for the Rockies to send him to Triple-A Albuquerque to start the regular season, but he wants to make them think twice about it.

Dahl's 1-for-3 performance in Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Brewers brought his overall Cactus League batting average to .208. However, since an 0-for-15 start that saw him strike out nine times, Dahl is 11-for-38 (.289) with five home runs, 14 RBIs, four walks and six strikeouts.

Last season, Dahl was limited to 77 Minor League at-bats (none in the Majors) by a rib injury that never healed, so regular playing time in Albuquerque seemed like the proper route, even before Carlos Gonzalez rejoined the team. And a team that expects to be a contender can feel confident in a veteran outfield of Gerardo Parra in left field, Charlie Blackmon in center and Gonzalez in right.

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But Rockies manager Bud Black is giving Dahl extensive Spring Training action to prepare him for the regular season and possibly have him ready for a callup in case of injury. The club figures Dahl -- a first-round Draft pick in 2012 -- is a big part of the future, with all three projected starters in the final year of their contracts.

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"Obviously, I want to make the team and I feel I can help them," Dahl said. "I'll do whatever I need to do to make it. But it hasn't really affected me. Early on in my career, I'd try to guess where I'd be.

"The more good at-bats I have, the better chance I do have to make the team."

Tapia tests his limits
Raimel Tapia, a favorite for a reserve outfield spot, was picked off for the third time this spring after his single in the third inning on Saturday. And it didn't bother manager Bud Black one bit. In fact, he was doing exactly what he was coached to do: learn valuable information. It falls into the category of Ian Desmond not getting hits while working out a new hand position or any number of pitchers testing pitches and sacrificing ERA.

"We're challenging Raimel and all our guys to get good leads that they're uncomfortable with," Black explained. "We're testing their limits. With Raimel, because basestealing is a part of his game, [it's about] testing your limits on leads, testing our limits on going first to third, testing limits as a runner on third on the contact play -- how far can we get down the line -- and really challenging ourselves."

McMahon doing his part
Ryan McMahon, who had a shot at the everyday first-base job before Gonzalez signed, went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and has a .333 Cactus League batting average. Like Dahl, McMahon is preparing for daily duty, whether it's in the Majors or Triple-A, but it might be tough to make the Opening Day roster.

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

Senzatela puts outing in perspective
Antonio Senzatela let a potential double-play ball in the second inning skip under his glove for an error, was hurt by the poorly executed defense of a double-steal and gave up a two-run Jett Bandy home run. But he was happy with his outing, which saw him go 3 2/3 innings, allow four unearned runs on six hits and a walk and strike out three.

Senzatela felt working on his slider was fruitful, even though the Bandy homer came on one.

"Overall right now, my slider is better -- maybe just one missed up," said Senzatela, who is vying for a rotation spot. "I feel real good. I feel healthy. My arm's there. I've got good command of my fastball."

Injury report
Catcher Tom Murphy, hit in his mask by a backswing on Thursday, has been feeling better. Black said the Rockies originally had him in the lineup Saturday but decided to hold off another day. He should play Monday against the Giants.

Up next
Lefty Sam Howard, the Rockies' No. 17 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, will start, and righty Yency Almonte, the No. 10 prospect, also will pitch as the Rockies visit the Giants, and star lefty Madison Bumgarner, at Scottsdale Stadium on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is at 2:10 p.m. MT, and the game can be heard live on Gameday Audio.

It's also lefty Kyle Freeland's day. He will throw five innings or 75-80 pitches in a game on one of the back fields at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

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, David Dahl, Ryan McMahon, Raimel Tapia