GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Drew Pomeranz’s first hiccup this spring had nothing to do with his arm.
Pomeranz pitched two more scoreless innings before leaving with tightness in his right hip and the Colorado Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 on Tuesday.
Considered a top prospect, Pomeranz was acquired by the Rockies last summer in the trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland. The 23-year-old left-hander, drafted fifth overall in 2010, is a projected member of Colorado’s rotation this season after making four starts for the Rockies last year.
Pomeranz has showed his talent all spring, tossing seven shutout innings. He retired all six batters he faced Tuesday, but had to leave earlier than expected. He was scheduled to pitch another inning or two but came out of the game because of his hip.
“It was tight warming up. It stayed stiff. I could have still pitched but there’s no point in pushing it,” Pomeranz said. “It’s nothing serious. Just a little tightness. If I had to pitch, I could still pitch. I’m not worried about it.”
Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with his arm.
“I felt great out there,” Pomeranz said, adding that his command was the best he’s had “in a long time.”
Without trying, Pomeranz said he’s developed a natural cut fastball, a pitch that breaks in to right-handers.
“Sometime last spring it started naturally cutting and staying for strikes,” Pomeranz said.
The Rockies got a close look at Pomeranz late last season, when he went 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 18 1-3 innings.
“We thought he was a really, really good pitcher when we saw him last September,” manager Jim Tracy said. “This spring is a little bit better than we saw last September.”
Dodgers starter Chris Capuano sailed through the first inning and had two outs with nobody on in the second. Then he ran into trouble. He gave up a walk and hit a batter before Eric Young Jr. slapped a run-scoring single and Jonathan Herrera knocked in two more runs with a single.
Tracy praised a long leadoff at-bat by Young, who worked his way back from 0-2 to 3-2 before he was called out on strikes.
“I personally think even though he got called out on ball four, the leadoff at-bat of the game was tremendous,” Tracy said. “I think that helped shorten Chris Capuano’s outing, no question.”
Scott Van Slyke tripled for the Dodgers. Tony Gywnn Jr. and Tim Federowicz doubled.
Fernando Nieve pitched 2 1-3 innings of scoreless relief, prompting manager Don Mattingly to say Nieve is a candidate for the team’s final bullpen spot.
“He’s a little different as a starter and reliever,” Mattingly said. “He’s more of a power guy when you get him out of the `pen. … He’s interesting.”
The Dodgers stumbled in the field, committing four errors — three by middle infielders.
Still, Mattingly said he feels good about his middle-infield defense, which includes Dee Gordon at shortstop and Mark Ellis at second base. The backups figure to be Jerry Hairston Jr., who made two errors at shortstop, and Adam Kennedy.
“I think those guys are all real comfortable,” Mattingly said, while acknowledging Hairston and Kennedy are both more comfortable at second base.
On the other side, Tracy was happy with his team’s baserunning.
“The biggest thing that jumped out at me today was how we ran the bases,” he said. “That’s as well as we’ve done it all spring — aggressive, taking the extra base, forcing the issue. It was really fun to watch.”
NOTES: Michael Cuddyer will play first base for Colorado on Wednesday night in a split-squad game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields. Tracy said he also wants Cuddyer to get the experience of shifting from the outfield to first base during games. … The Dodgers entered with the National League’s lowest spring ERA at 3.11. They also ranked third in the NL with a .290 batting average and first with a .377 on-base percentage. … Andre Ethier made a great running catch in the right-field corner on a drive off the bat of Colorado’s Chris Nelson.