Bad Day. 

Bad Day.

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The battle for the fifth starter spot looked like a war of attrition Wednesday, as both Zach Day and Josh Fogg missed opportunities to make a strong impression.

Day pitched the home end of a split-squad series with the Diamondbacks, giving up seven runs on eight hits and a walk in three innings.

"I feel good," Day said after coming out of the game with a spring ERA of 13.50. "I was getting balls up. I just have to lower my sights. My stuff feels pretty good right now."

He may have felt good, but his command looked "poor" to manager Clint Hurdle, who cited problems taking speed off Day's changeup, an inability to get ahead in the count and an inconsistency in getting the ball down as areas of concern.

"He needs to look at this and do some fine-tuning on the side, and he needs to have a good outing his next time out where he's getting the ball down and his command improves," Hurdle said.

Fogg fared better in the D-Backs' park, giving up three runs in four innings on four hits and a walk to lower his ERA to 7.71. The other primary candidate for the fifth spot, Sunny Kim, is with the Korean national team in the World Baseball Classic, where he gave up two runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings in the upset victory over Japan on Sunday, giving him a tournament ERA of 5.40.

"I can only do what I can do," said Day, deflecting any sense of pressure about competing for a job. "I'm a sinkerball pitcher. Today I got beat on a couple balls up -- they weren't sinking. There were a couple offspeed that got away. A couple sliders that got away. The sinker feels good. The four-seamer I got up a little bit. I have to adjust accordingly.

"I know myself and I know where I got to be. For me to compete for a spot right now, I look to sharpen things up and then get after it the next couple starts."

Air mail: Control was not an issue for third base prospect Troy Tulowitzki. In the top of the eighth, Jerry Gil doubled deep to left field, and Tulowitzki went well out onto the outfield grass to take the relay throw from Minor Leaguer Joe Gaetti as Alberto Callaspo headed down the line for home.

"Honestly, when he hit that ball, I thought there's no chance we got a play at the plate right here," said catcher JD Closser. "I thought the play would be [on Gil] at third base. When Troy caught [Gaetti's throw] out there and threw it, I still wasn't sure we had a play at the plate. The throw went over [shortstop Ian Stewart's] head, and I thought, 'Oh my, we have a shot at this guy.'

"Joe hit him from the outfield on a perfect throw, and then a perfect throw to the plate. ... He hit me right in the chest."

Closser blocked the plate, Callaspo was out and 1,559 fans were stunned, not to mention both dugouts.

"You got to see probably one of the best relay throws you'll ever see," Hurdle said. "I don't care where you've been or who you've watched."

Commencing countdown: The Rockies blasted four home runs Wednesday, all in the home game. Closser, Stewart and Choo Freeman each launched their first round-trippers of the season, and Jeff Baker hit his team-best second dinger, giving him a team high six RBIs.

Baker's promise has prompted Hurdle to get the explosive prospect into every game of the spring, not including the second split-squad matchup Wednesday, and the natural third baseman has found himself in the outfield each time out.

"We're trying to find a way to get him a little more playing time," Hurdle said. "Garrett Atkins established himself at third, and Bake's got a little versatility. We'll see if we can convert that into him becoming an outfielder.

"He drove a ball out of the ballpark today, but some of the growing pains you get with young players were very evident today. In two other opportunities, he struck out with a runner at third with less than two outs."

Worldly Rockies: Rockies closer Brian Fuentes pitched a scoreless ninth inning in Team USA's loss to Canada on Wednesday, striking out two in a 1-2-3 inning.

Matt Holliday started in left field, going 0-for-3 at the plate.

Jeff Francis starts for Canada in Thursday's first-round finale against Mexico.

Manuel Corpas pitched an inning of relief in Panama's loss to Cuba, inducing an inning-ending double play in the sixth, before yielding two runs in the seventh on two hits and a walk. That allowed Cuba to tie the game, which it ultimately won, 8-6, in 11 innings. Corpas is on the Rockies' 40-man roster.

Colorado reliever David Cortes pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for Mexico on Tuesday night, shutting down Team USA's Jeff Francoeur, Michael Young and Michael Barrett to preserve the two-run deficit.

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Comment when you say it like that it makes a lot of sense

Wed Apr 5, 2006 1:53 pm MST by bob stevens

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