Outlook: Rutledge has 15-homer, 15-steal potential

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies infielder Josh Rutledge thought his left ankle sprain, which cost him five days of action, was fully recovered. Tuesday's game against the Cubs confirmed it.

Rutledge twice was hit by runners while turning double plays at second base. He also went 1-for-3 with an RBI in the 13-0 victory.

"Nobody really hit it, but it's pretty much better now," said Rutledge, who started at shortstop Wednesday afternoon against the Reds. "It was good for me to see guys coming in hard, because it lets me work on things. I worked my feet well and still got the throws off and made strong throws.

"It's pretty much 100 percent now. I still tape it for feel for now, but I'll probably stop doing that soon."

Rutledge has been working out at shortstop and is prepared to move whenever asked. Rutledge's focus has been on proving he deserves starts at second base, where DJ LeMahieu is the regular. If asked to be a utility man, Rutledge would have to brush up on playing third base. Charlie Culberson and Paul Janish, who are competing for utility infield jobs, play all three positions.

"I played [third] my sophomore and part of my junior year of high school," Rutledge said.

Tulo day to day after getting plunked in leg

Outlook: Tulo still amongst best despite injuries

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies and their fans held their collective breath in the fourth inning of Wednesday night's game when shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was hit on the lower left leg by a pitch from the D-backs Wade Miley.

Tulowitzki left the game, but walked down the right-field line to the Rockies' clubhouse without assistance. The club announced he was day to day with a left calf contusion.

"It didn't hit the bone or anything," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He won't be in there tomorrow, but I don't think it'll be long."

Both teams had players hit by pitches. Right-hander Tommy Kahnle, a Rule 5 pick from the Yankees, hit the D-backs' Mark Trumbo in the back a half-inning before Tulowitzki was plunked.

In the bottom of the eighth, home-plate umpire Doug Eddings issued warnings to both dugouts when a pitch from the Rockies' Raul Fernandez went up and in against D-backs catcher Miguel Montero.

"You don't ever want to see guys hit," Weiss said, "but stuff happens."

The health of Tulowitzki, 29, is one of the major keys for the Rockies, who lost him to a broken rib for 25 games last season. His absence coincided with injuries to left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, center fielder Dexter Fowler (now with the Astros) and closer Rafael Betancourt (recovering from elbow injury), and the Rockies went from being a surprising contender to last place in the National League West. Tulowitzki also played in just 47 games because of a groin injury in 2012, when the Rockies also finished last in the division.

Tulowitzki has two Rawlings Gold Glove and Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards, as well as three All-Star Game selections -- last year's as the elected starter by the fans.

Added weight has Brothers feeling strong

Outlook: Brothers poised as setup man, could close

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-handed reliever Rex Brothers believes he will be better over the course of the season because he reported to Spring Training 10 pounds heavier than last year.

"It's probably back down to the 6-8 range at this point, but I want to keep that," Brothers said. "I didn't mean to go and gain weight, but this is probably the strongest I've felt this far into spring."

Brothers, 26, is listed at 210 pounds but often has not pitched at that weight. He looks slightly bigger than 210 now, but it's not excess. He hopes more power keeps him out of mini-slumps, which were few and far between last season as he went 2-1 with a 1.72 ERA and 19 saves in 72 appearances, with 76 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings as the club's primary setup man and closer.

Brothers had a 32-game scoreless streak covering 30 innings from April 10 to June 28. Just twice did he give up earned runs in consecutive games.

At times last season, Brothers felt weak even though he kept up his workout routine.

"Last year, I ran into a little trouble of not eating enough," he said. "I did change my diet a little bit, but when you clean up your diet, usually you have to eat more to fill up your body. It was trial and error, and I got a little bit fatigued. It's small, subtle things."

Brothers enters this season as the primary setup man to closer LaTroy Hawkins, but manager Walt Weiss will use the lefty in some closing situations. It's possible that the Brothers could move into the closer role as the season progresses.

Worth noting

• Lefty Tyler Matzek, who has had many fits and starts since being the Rockies' top Draft pick in 2009 (11th overall), had only given up one run this spring before struggling against the Reds on Wednesday afternoon. Matzek walked all four batters he faced in the ninth and left with the Rockies up, 3-2. Mike McClendon, who pitched for the Brewers from 2010-12, wiggled out of the jam with no further runs scoring.

"They weren't big misses, but he was missing," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of a Matzek's control. "He's come a long way, Tyler. I don't want this outing today to tarnish everything he's done.

"He's really worked hard and has worked through some things, and has thrown the ball really well in this camp. I want to make sure he leaves here with a good feeling. He may get out there one more time. We'll make sure he ends up on a positive note."

Matzek, 23, has struggled with walks and consistency his entire pro career but made progress when the Rockies made him a reliever during the 2013 Arizona Fall League.

• Weiss was happy with lefty Brett Anderson's five innings against the Reds. Anderson didn't have his changeup working but found ways to keep hitters off balance while allowing only one run on five hits.

"His pitch count was low, and we wanted to extend him a little bit today, so it took five innings to get him to his pitch count," Weiss said. "It was a real good day for Brett. He's been impressive."