Flores on quickened course; working on the day off

Lefty reliever Randy Flores gave up a home run to the Royals’ Tommy Murphy on Tuesday. It was the first Cactus League run against Flores in three appearances, althuogh he did give up three runs in one inning of an intrasquad game.

Nonetheless, Flores — a non-roster invitee — has made himself an interesting bullpen candidate to start the season, even though he is coming off shoulder surgery in August.

“The second I got healthy, and in shape to throw, I was in games, and that’s different for me,” said Flores, who established himself as a reliever with the Cardinals 2004-08. “Typically, everyone gets in shape during the winter, but still it’s a jolt to your system to face hitters, and another jolt when you’re in a game.

“So to say I have nothing to work on would be completely wrong. I need to continue to work on my conditioning in the game, and the crispness and sharpness of my pitches. That can hopefully take place over the last couple of weeks.”

– The Rockies will enjoy their only day off of the spring on Wednesday. But left-hander Greg Smith and right-handers Greg Reynolds, Ryan Speier, Josh Fogg and Matt Belisle will throw in a Minor League game. Also, it’ll be the first Minor League outing for righty Jason Hirsh, who was optioned out of big-league camp on Monday.

– Todd Helton continues to put back problems behind him. On Tuesday, he hit his third home run in six Spring Training games. This one was a pull shot down the right-field line off the Royals’ Kyle Davies. The other two were to center field. Ryan Spilborghs also went deep. The club’s projected leadoff hitter, Spilborghs is hitting .323 with a .405 on-base percentage in 10 Cactus League contests. 

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