03/04/10 5:50 PM ET
Buckner settles down after rough start
D-backs fall in spring opener; Johnson notches RBI in first
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
at Tucson, Ariz.
Thursday, March 4
Rockies at the plate: Seth Smith singled, doubled and homered in his first three at-bats leaving him just a triple away from the cycle. Smith did not get the chance though, as he was removed following the top of the fifth. Smith's homer was a three-run shot in the fifth off Rodrigo Lopez. Chris Iannetta drove in a pair of runs with a bases-loaded walk in the first and a single in the third.D-backs at the plate: Infielder Tony Abreu singled in his first at-bat as a member of the D-backs. Second baseman Kelly Johnson had a nice D-backs debut as he singled and drove in a run in the first inning. Brandon Allen looked good in his two at-bats, lining a triple to center and drawing a walk in the fifth. Justin Upton came up in the fifth with the bases loaded and one out and grounded into a double play. Rockies on the mound: It was a good day for a pair of pitchers that will be in the rotation come Opening Day. Jason Hammel started and allowed one run over a pair of innings. Jorge De La Rosa followed with two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and a walk. Manuel Corpas, who missed the second half of last year with elbow problems, worked his way out of a first-and-second, no-out jam in the fifth. D-backs on the mound: It was a bit of a rough go of it for starter Billy Buckner at the outset, as five of the first six hitters reached base against him. The right-hander was able to rebound nicely, though, fanning the final two of the first inning and retiring the Rockies in order in the second. Bob Howry got the first two outs of the third inning before allowing four straight hits and two runs. Worth noting: This was the final Cactus League opener for the D-backs in Tucson. The club is moving to a new facility in Scottsdale next season. The D-backs have trained in Tucson since their inception in 1998. Cactus League records: Rockies 1-0; D-backs 0-1. Up next: The Rockies will have split-squad road games against the Giants and the Angels. Against the Giants at Scottsdale, Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis will have his first Major League action (of sorts) since Sept. 12, 2008. Francis missed the end of that season and all of 2009 because of shoulder surgery. At Tempe, Rockies projected Opening Day starter Ubaldo Jimenez is scheduled for three innings against the Angels. Also, lefty Greg Smith, who came from the Athletics in the Matt Holliday trade before last season but didn't pitch in the Majors because of shoulder and back issues, is scheduled for two innings. Manager Jim Tracy will monitor the team at Tempe. Pitching coach Bob Apodaca will be in Scottsdale.
The D-backs will make their first appearance of the spring in the Phoenix area when they travel to Mesa to take on the Cubs. Dan Haren, who will start the regular-season opener, will take the ball for the D-backs. It will be a battle of aces as the Cubs are scheduled to start Carlos Zambrano. First baseman Adam LaRoche is expected to make his first appearance with the D-backs. Third baseman Mark Reynolds is also slated to make his Cactus League debut.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.