SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In his second Cactus League start, Jeremy Guthrie had the "X-factor" working in his favor. Before Monday's game against the Padres, Guthrie decided he wanted to focus on mixing in his offspeed pitches, so he set a quota for himself.
"I wanted to work changeup, so I made an exerted effort to throw as many of those as I could," Guthrie said. "My goal was to throw 15. I put a number on it just to make sure I was focused. I ended up throwing 12. Last game against San Francisco, I only threw a couple of them. It's a pitch I want to make sure I feel comfortable with. So I really focused on making sure I mixed in the changeup, four or five an inning.
"I've never really gone into a Spring Training game saying I'm going to throw X amount of changeups like I did today. It helped me focus on what I needed to do to make successful pitches."
The proof was in the pitcher's line score. Guthrie threw an efficient 41 pitches over four innings, holding the Padres to one run on two hits, walking none and striking out three. After a leadoff homer to Cameron Maybin on his only mistake pitch of the day, Guthrie allowed one more hit in the inning, then retired 10 in a row to end his day.
"What we witnessed today is what has been advertised as far as the strike-throwing machine that he is, the efficiency with which he does his work," manager Jim Tracy said of Guthrie's outing. "It was a real good lesson for our young pitchers. He's interested in having the ball put in play as quickly as possible and keeping it off the barrel of the bat. That's the way he pitched today ... 41 pitches in four innings. That'd be a [heck] of a lesson to learn today."
If Guthrie had any reservations it was that his efficiency kept him from getting a lengthier workout, but it's those low pitch counts that lead to the three successive seasons he's had with 200 or more innings logged.
"It's light," Guthrie summed up. "It's not very many pitches. The innings are there, but the pitches aren't there, which is fine. If I can do that during the season I've got a good shot to get pretty deep into games."
Arenado hopes future is now with Rox
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Nolan Arenado has turned a lot of heads in his first Major League camp. The 20-year-old third base prospect, who hit .298 with 20 homers and 122 RBIs in High A Modesto last season, has made the big league radar.
Although breaking camp on the Rockies' roster is certainly a long-shot, people can't keep from talking about Arenado in Colorado's future.One head Arenado did not turn on Sunday was Milwaukee's Brooks Conrad, who was tagged out at third after a high pickoff throw from Rockies pitcher Edgmar Escalona.
The play went down as an unassisted out by Arenado at third after Conrad made it safely back to the bag, then was tagged out as he started taking his lead off the base. If you blinked you missed it, and Conrad must have blinked, having no idea that Arenado was still there with the ball and leaving Arenado as surprised as anyone about how events played out."I wasn't doing a deke or anything," Arenado explained. "He threw the ball up, and I think the high throw threw Conrad off, because I kind of reached up and I caught it, and then I walked around him just to walk around him, and then he got his lead and I tagged him out. That's probably the first time it's ever happened to me. That was pretty weird, pretty funny." For the most part, however, it's not Little League staples like the old hidden ball trick that Arenado is focusing on, but the wealth of experience and knowledge surrounding him in the big league clubhouse. "It's pretty crazy being out here with all these ballplayers," Arenado said. "Just learning from them and playing with them. Hopefully one day I'll be winning games with them. It's an unbelievable place, and these players are unreal. I'm having a great time." Arenado is trying to get his offense going. He's had a slow start, going 2-for-14 (.143), and is making tweaks with his swing as he tries to be more aggressive at the plate, and show that he fits in the lineup as well as he's fit in the clubhouse. "You're part of the team," Arenado said of his first Cactus League experience. "That's what's great about these players. They make you feel comfortable. But also you have to do a lot of work. You have to put in the work to be here. That's what I've got to do. "
Moyer determined to land rotation spot
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Those who know Jamie Moyer best are the least surprised at his strong pitch to make the Rockies' rotation.
Former Rangers second baseman Mark McLemore played seven years with Moyer in Baltimore and Seattle and is now a pre- and postgame broadcaster for the Rangers and a special instructor at Spring Training.
"It's expected," McLemore said of Moyer's comeback. "When he got hurt a year ago, he said he was coming back, and I believed him. Just knowing him, he has that kind of tenacity. You don't last that long without that kind of work ethic, determination and tenacity."
Moyer, 49, is 267-204 with a 4.24 ERA over the course of 24 big league seasons. He was 9-9 with the Phillies in 2010, and he became the oldest pitcher in Major League history to throw a shutout when he blanked the Braves on May 7, 2010, at age 47. He was out of action in 2011 with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.
"He has been hurt before and has always come back," McLemore said. "At some point he won't be able to do like he wants. Do I think that will be now? No."
Rox featured on '30 Clubs in 30 Days' Tuesday
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- MLB Network's "30 Clubs in 30 Days" series hones in on the Rockies in an episode set to air at 9 p.m. MT on Tuesday, offering an in-depth look at the Rockies' chances in the National League West.
Series host Greg Amsinger and analysts John Hart and Kevin Millar break down the club, its prospects, its offseason moves and the untapped potential of its young rotation. Key interviews include manager Jim Tracy, Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Cuddyer, Jeremy Guthrie and Dexter Fowler, who is featured in a baserunning demonstration.
According to "30 Clubs in 30 Days," the key to the Rockies will be the balance between such veteran acquisitions as Marco Scutaro, Cuddyer, Casey Blake, Ramon Hernandez and Jamie Moyer and a young pitching staff that will depend on promising players such as Jhoulys Chacin, Drew Pomeranz, Juan Nicasio and Alex White.
The Rockies' successes over the past five years, beginning with their 2007 World Series appearance, have largely been attributed to homegrown players who overachieved and brought the franchise to a higher plane. The club has attempted to address its shortcomings as it prepares for 2012, and "30 Clubs in 30 Days" takes a hard look at how well the organization has positioned itself for lasting success.
"For so long this organization has been based off young players and built from within, and this year we've kind of changed that," Tulowitzki says in the program. "We added some veterans, and they've done a great job of helping me out in the clubhouse. It helps me, because now I get to worry about just playing baseball, and I don't have to police."
Even with a significant infusion of veteran presence and postseason experience, the Rockies' success in 2012 will rely heavily on a new generation of rising pitching talent.
"It's going to come down to starting pitching," Cuddyer says. "You don't know what you're going to get with them, because they're all 22 years old and throw 98 [mph] and have great offspeed stuff, but it's honing that."
"These young arms are going to step up, and we're going to know who they are by the All-Star break," Millar said.
Those who tune in Tuesday should have a head start on knowing the new-look Rockies before the hour is up.
Blake misses Padres game with stiff neck
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Casey Blake got up on the wrong side of the bed Monday morning. Or maybe he went to sleep on the wrong side. One way or another, something wasn't right, and it cost him a start as part of what looked like a close facsimile of an Opening Day lineup.
"When he went out to stretch [Monday] morning he told me that he had slept wrong and he woke up with a [heck] of a stiff neck," manager Jim Tracy said. "When we went to do our fundamental work, he came in to see if they could loosen it up, and I got word while I was out on the field that he wasn't going to be able to make it today [against the Padres]."
Blake, who is hitless in nine Cactus League at bats spanning four games, was scratched from the lineup and Brandon Wood started in his place, going 2-for-2 and improving his average to .438 (7-for-16).
Blake had season-ending neck surgery early last September while playing for the Dodgers.
In other medical news, Tracy explained Chad Bettis' early departure from Sunday's split-squad game in Maryvale.
"We took him out of the game because he had tightness in his triceps," Tracy said. "When I heard that [Sunday] after the first inning that he pitched over there, it was, 'that'll be enough for today.' We're not going to venture in any further with that kid or any other kid."
Tracy had not heard any new developments with Bettis, but expected to get a report later Monday.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.