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Friday Rockpile: Cactus League Opener Today, Rockies Opener Tomorrow

Matt Belisle had fun at photo day.
Matt Belisle had fun at photo day.

The Cactus League officially opens this afternoon with a game between fellow NL West competitors. The Diamondbacks will play the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium, a few minutes South of the new Salt River Fields complex. The Diamondbacks will then serve as the home team in the park opener between themselves and the Rockies on Saturday.

That's the official Spring opener, but that didn't stop the Phillies from playing an exhibition against the FSU Seminoles yesterday. Several regular Phillies players got in a couple at bats at the beginning of the game, as they defeated the college team 8-0, marking the first game action of any MLB team so far in 2011. Here's the box score. You can also read the stories about the game from some of the college players here at the official website of the FSU teams.

The Pirates and Tigers will also be holding exhibition games against Florida colleges today. Regular play in both of the Spring leagues begins Saturday.

Thomas Harding of gives us two articles on Rockies activities as they prepare for games to begin. Aaron Cook's shoulder issues are still not being treated as a worry regarding his forecast for the start of the season, but  he has fallen significantly far enough behind in his Spring workouts that he will have to miss a cycle or two in the Spring rotation. He was expected to bullpen sessions yesterday, but is still adjusting to long toss. This opens up further incentive for emergency rotation candidates like Felipe Paulino and Esmil Rogers to make an impact during the Spring. The second article discusses the Rockies attitude on the basepaths and how Jim Tracy wants to see it changed this season.

Harding also has a piece on Jason Hammel, and how he deals with a genetic predisposition for cholesterol issues. Hammel's father died in his mid-40s from a heart attack related to this condition.

As I highly encourage you to do throughout the Spring, don't forget to check up on the Denver Post Rockies blog, All Things Rockies, for thoughts and articles from Troy Renck and Jim Armstrong. Highlights from yesterday's roll of articles include pieces on Jason Giambi, Tim Wheeler and Ubaldo Jimenez.