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Rockies pitchers to fans: Don't freak out

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Nicasio and De La Rosa say they will put command issues aside and improve their performance by opening day.

Christian Petersen

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona - Here's a message from Rockies pitchers, especially Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio: There is no reason to act in desperation due to their recent displays in spring training.

Two reasons: One, it is still spring training. And, two, these pitchers need time to adjust, especially considering they haven't thrown at the major league level as consistently as they would have liked.

"My arm strength is in full form, I feel no pain when pitching, and that's what matters most," De La Rosa said. "My current issues are with command and rhythm. I have to (get) my rhythm back."

De La Rosa has a 7.36 ERA, with three runs and four walks allowed in 3.2 innings of work. Nicasio's numbers are not the best, either: he sports a 5.40 ERA with four earned runs in 6.2 frames. That contrasts with the solid display so far from Jeff Francis, who owns a 0.00 ERA with 5 strikeouts in 9.0 innings over three games.

"(De La Rosa) hasn't thrown for (most) of the past two seasons," manager Walt Weiss said. "And it's not even March 10. That's why we don't want to get too carried away with him."

It's true De La Rosa was able to make just three starts at the end of last season, after recovering from Tommy John surgery. Nicasio appeared in 11 games in 2012, after dealing with the aftermath of a serious neck injury.

"You have to remind yourself that these are still young pitchers," catcher Yorvit Torrealba said. "They want to show they are ready, they want to make an impression (right) away, and that's why sometimes they want to go too fast. They need to work and remind themselves this is a work in progress."

That is why the coaching staff, and the hurlers themselves, are confident the duo will bounce back.

"This is just starting and we are starting to get back in shape," Nicasio said, while adding he's fully healthy. "One thing is these preparatory games, and another business altogether is when we are going to face opposing batters in the regular season. Once those lights at Coors Field will be back on, trust me, we will be ready."