Rockies spring training report: German Marquez named opening day starter
Germán Márquez stuck a “feather in his cap” and then went out and mowed down the Brewers Friday afternoon.
The Rockies’ veteran right-hander was informed by manager Bud Black that he will pitch on opening day against the Padres on Thursday at San Diego. It will be his third start on opening day, the most in franchise history.
“It means a lot to me,” Márquez told reporters at spring training. “I’ve been working really hard. I’m so happy and I’m excited to be pitching the first game.”
Lefty Kyle Freeland, a Denver native, will pitch Game 2 vs. the Padres and then start the home opener against the Nationals on April 6 at Coors Field.
Black, who believes Márquez is primed for a comeback season, knows that pitching the opener is a big deal.
“It’s a great feather in the cap to be named the opening-day starter,” Black told reporters at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Márquez celebrated by dominating the Brewers for six innings in Colorado’s 9-4 win, giving up one run on three hits (including a solo homer to Garrett Mitchell) while striking out seven and walking none. Márquez finished his Cactus League stint with an 0.53 ERA, 20 strikeouts and just two walks over 17 innings.
“I feel like my delivery is good and I can make the pitches when I need to,” he said.
Márquez had one rocky spring outing, giving up two runs in three innings against Mexico in a World Baseball Classic exhibition, but said that he was focused on pitching inside and was not concerned about that performance.
Márquez was a first-time All-Star in 2021 but pitched poorly last season, finishing with a 4.95 ERA across 31 starts, his highest ERA for any full season of his career. In 16 starts at Coors Field, he was 2-6 with a 6.70 ERA, and opponents hit .317 with 19 homers against him.
Black hopes Márquez has put that behind him.
“If spring training is any indication, he’s in a good spot,” Black said. “… It speaks for itself.”
Freeland’s big-league debut came in the Rockies’ home opener vs. the Dodgers in 2017. He sparkled that afternoon, allowing one run on four hits over six innings. He fanned six, walked two and picked up his first career victory.
Rockies 9, Brewers 4
Friday at American Family Fields of Phoenix
On the mound: Right-hander Connor Seabold, still in the mix to make the team as a reliever, pitched one scoreless inning, allowing one hit and striking out two. He has a 4.35 Cactus League ERA. … Right-hander Jake Bird, working his way back from a strained oblique, is still showing some rust. He gave up three runs (two earned) on three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. He has a 10.80 ERA.
At the plate: Outfielder Kris Bryant hit 2 for 4 with a double and a home run, his fourth. In 13 Cactus League games, Bryant has hit .344 (11-for-32) with two doubles and eight RBIs. … Corner infielder Mike Moustakas went 1 for 4 and hit his second home run. … Rookie shortstop Ezequiel Tovar is starting to heat up. He went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and raised his average to .295 (13-for-44).
Up next: Guardians (9-14) at Rockies (11-16), 6:40 p.m. (7:40 p.m. MDT) Saturday.
Rockies probable pitchers: RHP Karl Kauffmann, RHP Justin Lawrence, RHP Pierce Johnson, RHP Dinelson Lamet, LHP Brent Suter, LHP Brad Hand, LHP Fernando Abad.
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