TUCSON, Ariz. -- Greg Smith threw himself into the chase for the final spot on the Colorado staff, pitching four shutout innings Tuesday in the Rockies' 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Smith retired his first 10 batters. He gave up two hits, struck out four and walked none.Smith hasn't drawn a lot of attention in what had been described as a three-man competition between Tim Redding, Justin Speier and Joe Beimel. He was acquired from Oakland before the 2009 season in the trade for outfielder Matt Holliday, and was slowed by injuries and ailments last year at Triple-A.Todd Helton hit a two-run homer off Dodgers pitching prospect Josh Linblom in the first inning. Dexter Fowler led off the third with a triple and scored on a one-out single by Brad Hawpe.Smith would seem to fit the two things manager Jim Tracy has said he would like to have -- a pitcher who can work extended innings, and a left-hander to go along with Randy Flores, in light of Franklin Morales becoming the closer with Huston Street on the disabled list.Smith arrived this spring as pretty much an unknown to the Rockies."My main goal was to come in and be healthy and to show [the Rockies] I could stay healthy," Smith said.Smith, however, has been a starter except for two appearances in rookie ball. The decision the Rockies would have to weigh is whether they would prefer having him working every fifth day at Triple-A Colorado Springs in case a rotation need arose in the big leagues, or in an extra spot in the major league bullpen.Whoever earns the final spot on the pitching staff could be on borrowed time in the big leagues, and the Rockies might not want to disrupt Smith's season. Street will open the season on the disabled list because of shoulder tightness but is expected to be activated by May 1.The Rockies also could face a move with the season-opening pitching staff within 10 days of the start of the season if they decide Beimel would be better off getting more innings in extended spring or with Colorado Springs to make sure he is ready for the start of the season.Beimel did not sign with the Rockies until March 23, and has worked one exhibition inning so far."I pitched in relief my first two years [at LSU] and made two appearances in rookie ball so it would be foreign," Smith said. "I would have no problem with that. If that is the need I fit, so be it."Smith has made five big league appearances this spring, allowing 14 hits and three earned runs in 15 2/3 innings. He has shut out the Dodgers in seven innings of two appearances.
The Rockies host Arizona in the final spring training game in Tucson on Wednesday. The Rockies and Arizona are both moving their spring training to a shared complex in north Scottsdale next spring. ... C Russell Martin, out since March 6 with a strained groin, will return to the Dodgers' lineup for Wednesday's game against San Francisco.