SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - The Kansas City Royals have some decisions to make about their starting rotation. Felipe Paulino and Aaron Crow are making those choices a little more difficult.
Both are competing for a starting job for the Royals and each threw two scoreless innings Thursday in a 5-0 win over the Colorado Rockies.
Yuniesky Betancourt and Max Ramirez hit solo home runs. Ramirez, a backup catcher, has three home runs this spring.
Drew Pomeranz threw three scoreless innings for Colorado despite pitching with an abrasion on the top of his thumb.
In his spring debut, Paulino allowed three hits and struck out one in two shutout innings. A strained hamstring slowed him earlier in camp.
``(We) saw some flashes out of Paulino, what we're looking for, pitching consistently down,' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ``He was a little better in the second inning than he was in the first. Stuff was tremendous. Crow was very good. All of them pitched very, very well.'
Crow, another candidate for the rotation, allowed no hits, struck out two and walked one. Crow was an All-Star last season as a rookie reliever, finishing with a 2.76 ERA, striking out 65 in 62 innings. Now the Royals are looking at him as a starter.
Crow will throw his changeup more often than he did as a reliever. He threw two changeups Thursday - one was good and one was bad, he said.
``I have confidence in it,' Crow said. ``In the past, I've thrown it with success. Just last year, I didn't really throw it that much. I didn't need to, throwing one inning at a time, but it's something that needs to get better if I want to be a starter.'
Betancourt, the utility infielder, hit a solo home run that sparked the Royals' four-run rally in the fourth inning against Josh Outman.
Ramirez hit his third home run, a solo shot in the eighth.
In the second inning, Rockies trainers visited the mound to check on Pomeranz's thumb after he picked off Lorenzo Cain. Pomeranz stayed in the game and struck out Brayan Pena to end the inning. Overall, Pomeranz struck out three and allowed two hits and a walk.
Pomeranz said he was fine. A fingernail clips the top of his thumb when he throws his curveball, causing the abrasion. He said he didn't feel as sharp as he was in his spring debut Saturday.
``My fastball was cutting pretty good today,' he said. ``I got some guys on that. Everything felt good though, a lot better than it was in the bullpen.'
NOTE: Rockies infielder Hector Gomez injured his groin running out of the batter's box on his double in the ninth inning. .Yost was happy with his team's defense. The Royals turned four double plays and committed no errors. Among the good plays was a Betancourt backhander behind second base. .However, Kansas City made some baserunning mistakes. Alex Gordon was out at third on a groundball hit to shortstop after he hit a double in the first inning, and Cain was picked off at first in the second inning. ``They were aggressive mistakes. They were no doubt mistakes, but those are things we can adjust,' Yost said.
The Associated Press News Service
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