Quick Hit: Smooth Sailing for Gray, Gets in Work Against Minor Leaguers Thursday

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Jon Gray added another solid effort to his spring resume in a camp game against Rockies minor-league players on Thursday. The Rockies were not scheduled to play an exhibition game, but the Rockies wanted to keep Gray on his regular rest.

Gray worked six innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on seven hits and a walk. He struck out eight and threw 85 pitches. That fits with his efforts in five spring starts, in which he has walked one batter and given up five runs and 11 hits, striking out 21 in 17 2/3 innings.

Consistency has been a focus for Gray, who seemed to have lapses a year ago when the Rockies were 18-13 in his starts. He allowed three runs once in an inning in the 18 games the Rockies won, but allowed three or more runs in an inning 13 times in the 13 losses.

Gray is in line to start the Rockies exhibition finale against the Twins in Fort Myers, Fla., on Tuesday.

n With 31 players on their spring roster, and the expectation that Chris Rusin (upper back) and Antonio Senszatela (infected right heel) will open on the disabled list there are four roster cuts to be made.

n The Rockies have three pitchers – DJ Johnson, Harrison Musgrave and Carlos Esteves – in the running for the two open spots in the bullpen. The 25th man will come down veteran Mark Reynolds or Pat Valaika, who does have an option. Catcher Brett Nicholas remains in camp to add depth, and the Rockies also must decide which two catchers to keep from the trio of Chris Iannetta, Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy. The x-factor in the decision is Murphy is out of options.

n The Rockies have a split squad with two games Friday night. They host the Padres at Talking Stick at Salt River Fields in a 7:40 p.m. (MDT) game that will be carried on the Rockies radio network and televised by AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain. Chad Bettis is expected to make his final spring start. The Rockies also will send a team to Scottsdale Stadium to play the Giants (8:05 p.m., MDT). Jeff Hoffman is the scheduled starter.

n The Rockies have five spring games remaining – the Friday split-squad games, Saturday against the Cubs at Talking Stick, and Sunday against the Reds in Goodyear. They fly to Albuquerque and play their Triple-A affiliate on Monday, and then conclude the spring on Tuesday in Fort Myers, Fla., against the Twins.

n The regular season opens next Thursday against the Marlins. After four games in Miami they travel to St. Petersburg for three games with the Rays, and then come home, hosting the Dodgers April 5 in their home opener.