SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Playing in his first game in nine days and hoping to earn a roster spot in the final days of Spring Training, Joey Gallo went 2-for-4 with a homer and double to push the Rangers past the Rockies, 4-3, on Tuesday at Salt River Fields at Talking
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Playing in his first game in nine days and hoping to earn a roster spot in the final days of Spring Training, Joey Gallo went 2-for-4 with a homer and double to push the Rangers past the Rockies, 4-3, on Tuesday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
Given the Rangers' depth at the corner infield positions and at designated hitter, Gallo figures to start the season with Triple-A Round Rock to continue developing as a middle-of-the-order bat, general manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday. Gallo is batting .239 with four homers, nine RBIs and a .905 OPS this spring.
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A.J. Griffin, who won the Rangers' fifth starting spot last spring, all but locked up the fourth spot on Tuesday. He threw 5 1/3 innings and lowered his Cactus League ERA to 5.73 after giving up two earned runs on a homer by Mark Reynolds. Griffin also notched two strikeouts, both to Carlos Gonzalez, one via an 88-mph four-seamer and another from his developing changeup, a pitch he's become more comfortable with this spring.
"I thought Griffin threw the ball well," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He mixed up his pitches well and kept them off-balance."
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Senzatela gave up three earned runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out two. Other than a few minor struggles with his fastball location in the middle innings, Rockies manager Bud Black was pleased with the right-hander, who is on the Opening Day rotation bubble.
"They touched him for some runs in the fifth, but I thought he threw fine," Black said. "He's got a nice self assurance to him that I think will play as he moves forward. He's very confident in his pitching. He pitches aggressive with the fastball. He doesn't back down. I think there's a calmness to this fella that we like."
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Colorado starter Antonio Senzatela struggled with locating his fastball in the middle innings, and in the fifth, allowed the first three batters to reach base and score. He gave up three earned runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out two. The right-hander is bidding to be in the Rockies' Opening Day rotation. The team still has seven starters in camp after optioning Jeff Hoffman to Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday. With Senzatela, there are four others vying for two rotation spots -- Harrison Musgrave, German Marquez and Kyle Freeland.
Nolan Arenado, who entered the day 6-for-29 (.207) in Cactus League play, doubled twice and finished 2-for-4. Arenado scored on the fourth-inning homer from Reynolds, who is in line to contribute at first base in the immediate future with Ian Desmond out with a fractured hand.
Gonzalez took four at-bats, tying his spring high, as he conditions himself for the regular-season opener on Monday in Milwaukee.
Gerardo Parra started in center field and batted leadoff, with Charlie Blackmon out the last two days with the flu. Parra, who is competing for the starting left field job with David Dahl, left the game at the top of the fourth inning after feeling under the weather, and as part of a scheduled short day.
Rangers up next:Carlos Gomez is expected back in the lineup when the Rangers close out their Arizona schedule by playing the Royals at 2:05 p.m. CT Wednesday in Surprise on Gameday Audio. Gomez missed a week with a jammed left shoulder. Dillon Gee is in line to start for the Rangers, and will be followed by left-hander Alex Claudio and right-hander Mike Hauschild.
Rockies up next: The Rockies are off Wednesday, and resume Cactus League play on Thursday against the Padres at Peoria Sports Complex. Left-hander Tyler Anderson, the Rockies' likely No. 2 starter, is slated to make his final spring start in the 12:10 p.m. MST game, which will be broadcast live on MLB.TV. German Marquez, who is competing for a rotation spot, will also see action, along with relievers Jason Motte, Carlos Estevez, Mike Dunn and Jake McGee.
Also, projected Opening Day starter Jon Gray will throw 90 pitches on Wednesday in a Minor League game.
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Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.