SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Nolan Arenado hit a three-run home run and double to help the Colorado Rockies to a 7-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
The 23-year-old third baseman has two Gold Gloves in as many major league seasons. The Rockies hope Arenado becomes a force at the plate after a strong finish last season.
“He’s going to be an impact offensive player in this league,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. “Nothing he does surprises me.”
Batting third with stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez recovering from surgeries, Arenado lined a fastball off Cubs starter Jason Hammel that just cleared the left-field fence in the first inning for his first homer of the spring.
Arenado sent Felix Doubrant’s changeup off the left-field wall on a hop in the third.
“It always feels good to hit the ball hard and drive the ball,” Arenado said. “But there’s still a lot of work to be done. I’m not feeling totally comfortable up there, but it was nice to see the ball well.”
Cubs prospect Kris Bryant hit a two-run homer off Rockies starter Brett Marshall in the second. Bryant, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 draft, finished 1 for 3 with a strikeout.
Marshall started in place of ace Jorge De La Rosa, who was scratched a day earlier with a minor groin injury.
Cubs: Hammel started last season with the Cubs, was traded to Oakland in July, then re-signed with Chicago in the offseason.
The right-hander’s first spring outing started with a nine-pitch walk, a single and Arenado’s homer. He allowed three runs and four hits in two innings.
“Long inning to start the year is always fun,” Hammel said. “Honestly, I felt good. Couple close pitches that weren’t called, and then honestly a stupid pitch to Arenado there.”
Doubront, competing for a rotation spot, allowed one run and four hits in two innings.
Rockies: Marshall allowed two runs and two hits and struck out two in two innings.
He earned the fifth starter job with the Yankees last year before an injury to his right middle finger kept him out most of the season. The right-hander pitched in three games for New York late in the season before signing with the Rockies. “They called and told me this would be a good opportunity,” Marshall said. “I think this is a good fit for me.”
Cubs: OF Junior Lake isn’t expected to miss any time after colliding with Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips at second and leaving Friday’s game.
Rockies: LF Roger Bernadina left in the second as a precaution with a bruised left wrist after a colliding with first baseman Anthony Rizzo in the second. Bernadina didn’t have the hand wrapped and said he didn’t expect to miss any time.
De La Rosa said he was “doing better” and played catch Saturday. He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday. De La Rosa insisted it was minor tightness and he plans to start Thursday. “I felt it in a bullpen the other day and they just stopped me,” De La Rosa said. “They didn’t want it to get worse.”
CUBS EYE COKE
Veteran left-hander Phil Coke underwent a physical with the Cubs on Saturday, the next step before the 32-year-old signs a minor league contract. Coke spent the past five years in Detroit and could provide depth to Chicago’s bullpen.
HONORING MR. CUB
The Cubs wore blue T-shirts that honored Ernie Banks, the Hall of Famer who died in January, during their morning workout in Mesa. The front read “Let’s play two,” while the back had “Mr. Cub” and Banks’ No. 14.
Cubs: RHP Jake Arrieta starts Sunday against Texas.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Matzek makes his first spring start Sunday vs. San Diego.
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