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Rox pitchers in friendly battle for rotation spot

Marquez, Senzatela pulling for one another this spring
MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The competition between Rockies pitchers German Marquez and Antonio Senzatela can get fierce some days.

They exchange looks and shake their heads. There's usually little bit of trash talking followed by tons of laughs.

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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The competition between Rockies pitchers German Marquez and Antonio Senzatela can get fierce some days.

They exchange looks and shake their heads. There's usually little bit of trash talking followed by tons of laughs.

View Full Game Coverage

When the roommates are not busy competing for a job in the big leagues, they are parked in front of the television at the hotel playing video games, usually baseball and soccer, and that's when it gets personal -- and funny -- between the good friends.

The competition between the two pitchers for the fifth spot in the rotation? That's just business.

Video: Top Prospects: Antonio Senzatela, RHP, Rockies

"We are friends first," Senzatela said. "The competition will be decided by the front office, but neither of us are focused on that. We are just doing are our jobs and being the best pitchers we can be."

Chad Bettis, Tyler Chatwood, Jon Gray and Tyler Anderson are locks for the Rockies' rotation. Marquez, Senzatela, Jeff Hoffman, Kyle Freeland and Chris Rusin are all competing for the final spot.

Yes, it's early March and the unpredictable nature of baseball means all five competitors could see action in the big leagues sometime during the 2017 season. But Marquez and Senzatela are not looking that far into the future, anyway.

Senzatela gave up three runs on four hits in two innings on Thursday against the Royals -- striking out one batter and giving up a home run to Eric Hosmer. Marquez is scheduled to pitch on Friday against the Indians.

"I like these guys. They are young and they have good arms," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "They got good stuff. What I like is that from a delivery standpoint and fundamentally, they have been taught well. ... These guys have the right mindset and good heads on their shoulders. These guys are getting close to being Major Leaguers. We will see how it all shakes out, but they are on the radar."

Senzatela went 4-1 with a 1.82 ERA in 34 2/3 innings at Double-A Hartford last year, although he spend much of the season on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain. He was the California League's Pitcher of the Year in 2015 -- going 9-9 with a 2.51 ERA in 26 starts for Class A Advanced Modesto.

As for Marquez, he made his big league debut on Sept. 8, 2016, in San Diego and allowed two hits and three runs in 2 1/3 innings. Overall, he went 1-1 with a 5.23 ERA in 20 2/3 innings for the Rockies last season. He spent most of the 2016 season at Hartford and was Senzatela's roommate there, too.

"They've told me from the beginning that I'm fighting for the fifth spot and that makes me feel good," Marquez said. "It's a beautiful competition between friends. One of us might win a job or maybe both. We want each other do well. We will see."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Colorado Rockies, German Marquez, Antonio Senzatela