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Rockies arms set for first spring matchups

Chatwood, Lyles, several prospects scheduled to pitch
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Game conditions for the Rockies will begin Monday afternoon, when right-hander Tyler Chatwood -- completing a comeback from 2014 Tommy John surgery -- will start in the first of two intrasquad games over the next two days.

Chatwood hasn't pitched in a Major League game since April 29, 2014, because of Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. However, after spending the entire season recovering, Chatwood pitched in instructional ball in Arizona and in the Dominican Republic and is expected to be healthy. The intrasquad game also will feature righty reliever Carlos Estevez, the Rockies' No. 30 prospect as ranked by MLBPipeline.com at the end of last season.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Game conditions for the Rockies will begin Monday afternoon, when right-hander Tyler Chatwood -- completing a comeback from 2014 Tommy John surgery -- will start in the first of two intrasquad games over the next two days.

Chatwood hasn't pitched in a Major League game since April 29, 2014, because of Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. However, after spending the entire season recovering, Chatwood pitched in instructional ball in Arizona and in the Dominican Republic and is expected to be healthy. The intrasquad game also will feature righty reliever Carlos Estevez, the Rockies' No. 30 prospect as ranked by MLBPipeline.com at the end of last season.

Spring Training: Schedule | Tickets | More info

Tuesday's intrasquad game will feature several of the team's top prospects -- righty Jeff Hoffman (No. 52 in the Top 100 and No. 4 on the Rockies), lefty Kyle Freeland (No. 9 Rockies), righty Antonio Senzatela (No. 13 Rockies) and lefty reliever Sam Moll (No. 23 Rockies).

Righty Jon Gray (No. 33 MLB, No. 2 Rockies) will start Wednesday's Cactus League opener against the D-backs at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, with two lefty rotation candidates -- Tyler Matzek and Tyler Anderson -- and righty reliever Jairo Diaz (No. 26 Rockies) also scheduled.

Righty Jordan Lyles, who missed much of last season with a big toe injury that required surgery, will start Thursday against the D-backs. Also scheduled are rotation candidate Eddie Butler and Estevez.

Here is the complete schedule for the next few days:

Tweet from @harding_at_mlb: The #Rockies' pitching schedule for the next few daysRead: https://t.co/B1i4lgvNB3

Worth noting:

With shortstop Jose Reyes not in Spring Training and possibly facing an MLB suspension over an offseason domestic abuse charge, the Rockies not only have to fill his defensive position but also must find a strategy for the No. 2 batting order spot.

Manager Walt Weiss likes to be flexible in his order, so solid bat-handlers DJ LeMahieu and Gerardo Parra are candidates to hit behind leadoff man Charlie Blackmon.

"I use a lot of different lineups, depending on matchups and how the pieces fit that day," Weiss said. "We'll probably see both of them in that spot at some point."

Weiss also said he is not afraid to use a younger player if, say, a rookie such as Cristhian Adames or Trevor Story wins the shortstop job (utility men Daniel Descalso and Rafael Ynoa also are competitors).

"Just because a guy's young, I have no problem hitting him near the top of the top of the lineup," Weiss said. "That's counter-intuitive -- people think you hit the young guys at the bottom of the order. But if you're hitting eighth in this league, it's the toughest spot in the lineup."

Also, LeMahieu and Parra have done some of their best work lower in the order. Weiss also routinely moved his pitcher to the eighth spot last season.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Tyler Chatwood, Jordan Lyles