SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Veteran right-hander Jon Garland decided he had better opportunities to make his Major League comeback than the one the Rockies offered this winter.
Turns out Garland, 33, overestimated the Rockies' starting pitching depth. After pitching well this spring for a Mariners squad that ended up not having a spot for him, he corrected that mistake Sunday by signing a one-year, $500,000 contract with incentives that can take his earnings to roughly $2 million.
The Rockies envision Garland, who will pitch for the Rockies on Tuesday against the Dodgers in Glendale, Ariz., as an example of the ground-ball-oriented pitching they are preaching to their younger starters. Garland underwent right shoulder surgery while with the Dodgers in 2011 and missed the rest of that season and all of 2012.
"Honestly, I felt these guys had too much young pitching that was Major League ready or on the verge of being in the Major Leagues," Garland said. "As a guy who was trying to prove that I was healthy and trying to get back into a rotation, I thought it would be one of the tougher places."
The Rockies decided not all that pitching was quite ready. Lefty Drew Pomeranz, who seemed in line for the fifth spot, survived more than thrived last year as a rookie, while righty Tyler Chatwood was plagued by walks this spring and lefty Christian Friedrich missed the first half of the exhibition schedule with back problems. All have been optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs, with the Pomeranz decision being announced Monday.
Garland, who posted a 2.25 ERA in four spring starts with the Mariners, became available when he requested and received his release Saturday. He joined the Rockies the next day.
"I'm not surprised at my health, but early in spring I was surprised at how I was bouncing back," Garland said. "That was my biggest concern. I knew the strength was there, but until you get that adrenaline going and face big league hitters, it's that next day that really tells you something. I was able to bounce back, throw all my bullpens and make my next start."
"Someone's got to take a leap of faith on me. I think there's a huge upside if I give the team a chance to win. If I don't, things fall apart or the arm's not going to hold up, they can send me on my way, it's not going to cost them too much and they have plenty of arms ready to go."
The Rockies' history of pitching struggles is well known, but the club has at times done well with pitchers either coming off injuries or coming out of periods of difficulty. The Rockies expect to have a strong lineup, as often is the case, and need someone to be competent, if not necessarily dominant.
"There are some guys that stick out in my mind, like Rodrigo Lopez is one I remember," Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "It's important he fit what we've been preaching, ground balls, someone with experience that can keep us in games.
"You look at his career record and he has more wins than losses. With that experience comes a guy who knows how to pitch."
Rockies trim roster, send Pomeranz to Triple-A
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Drew Pomeranz lost his chance at making the Opening Day roster when the Rockies signed veteran righty Jon Garland on Sunday. Pomeranz was sent to Minor League camp and will begin the regular season at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Last season, Pomeranz, 24, was thrust into the rotation for 22 big league starts and went 2-9 with a 4.93 ERA in the Majors. He went 4-4 with a 2.51 ERA in nine starts during a demotion to Colorado Springs.
Pomeranz was 2-2 with a 5.50 ERA in five appearances (four starts) this spring, and appeared to be more consistent in his pitching motion. Last season, Pomeranz lost his motion early in the season and spent much of the year trying to get it back.
"I'm ready for whatever," Pomeranz said. "This year it's a lot easier to make adjustments than it was last year. I'm not worried about my mechanics much. I'm worried about making pitches."
The Rockies also sent right-handers Bobby Cassevah and Jeff Manship and infielder Matt McBride to Minor League camp. The team also released veteran right-hander Miguel Batista.
The Rockies are down to 32 players, including six non-roster invitees, and must be at 25 when the season opens on April 1.
Colvin taking extra swings in search of timing
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The hitting stroke that outfielder-first baseman Tyler Colvin used to hit .290 with 18 home runs, 72 RBIs and 27 doubles last season has gone missing this spring.
Colvin, hitting .190 in 42 Cactus League at-bats, searched for it in a Minor League game on Monday, but all he could manage was a double and some rollover grounders in five at-bats.
The Rockies play Colvin at all three outfield positions and first base. Depending on the health and swings of various front-line players, Colvin's playing time could be sporadic when the season starts.
"Usually, I've had 60 or 70 at-bats in Spring Training, but I haven't had as many [this year], so I have to try to get my timing down," said Colvin, who went to the batting cage for extra work after the Minor League game. "I want to see as many pitches as possible before the season starts.
"You'd like to square up balls and you want to be feeling good at the end. We're coming to the end, and I'd like to be feeling a little bit better. The season is coming and I want to be ready to go. I don't' know how many at-bats I'm going to get to start off, so I want to be ready for those pinch-hits."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.