- Associated Press - Monday, February 21, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. (AP) - Clayton Mortensen might have been able to fit his old spring training clubhouse into a closet at his new spring training home. The features of the Rockies’ new facilities have many wide-eyed.

“There’s no place close that compares,” he said Monday from the clubhouse of the $140 million Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. “This is the best place to work out. I’ve been snapping some pictures and sending them to some of my friends over there.”

‘Over there’ is Phoenix Municipal Stadium, which underwent a facelift a few years ago but kept the same crowded clubhouse.

Mortensen, acquired in a trade from the Oakland Athletics, hopes he’s one of the new pitching faces that will have management excited.

“I want the Rockies to know I can compete and I am ready to pitch at this level,” said Mortensen, who made seven starts and one relief appearances with the A’s during the past two years. “For me, pitching at this level was a confidence booster.”

The right-hander, 2-4 with a 7.12 ERA in the major leagues, said the facilities shared by the Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks can only help improve his performance.

There are video cameras to record every bullpen session and batting cage session, and a video room nearby for instant analysis.

“You come in and can immediately see what you’re doing wrong and go right back out to correct it,” he said. “I feel like I can relax more, and I trust myself a lot more.”

Rockies’ manager Jim Tracy claims there’s no pressure on any of the pitchers this early.

“He’s an intriguing pickup for us,” Tracy said. “He has been very successful and we will allow him to do his thing. It’s an opportunity for all the guys to just get comfortable with their delivery and then have the ability to repeat it pitch after pitch.”

Pitchers have been limited to 40-45 pitches, and Tracy feels there’s enough time to get a good read on his newest arrivals.

“Even the first time out or two, there’s not a lot of overanalyzing things,” he said. “Once you get a batter in there maybe then you begin to take a closer look but you have to be mindful.”

NOTES: Tracy said RHP Ubaldo Jimenez will start the Rockies’ spring training opener Saturday, with LHP Jorge De La Rosa also expected to pitch. Following an intrasquad game Sunday, RHP Jhoulys Chacin will start Monday. RHPs Jason Hammel and Aaron Cook, who didn’t pitch the past two days due to soreness in his shoulder and a stomach ailment, are expected to follow in the rotation. … Aside from Cook, no one has missed time because of injury, though Tracy said RHPs Keith Weiser and Sean White were being monitored due to some soreness in their quadriceps.

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