PHOENIX -- Pitchers Tyler Chatwood, Josh Outman and Christian Friedrich, all of whom came to Rockies Spring Training hoping to earn a rotation spot, or at least break camp with the big club, were among nine players the team sent to Minor League camp on Sunday.
Also among those being sent out of camp were righty prospect Rob Scahill, who was impressive while compiling a 1.35 spring ERA as he converts from starter to reliever; and outfielder Charlie Blackmon, who was hoping to force his way into a crowded outfield but missed much of the first half of camp with an infection in his right knee.
Other camp cuts were catcher Gustavo Molina, first baseman Ben Paulsen and outfielder Corey Dickerson. Additionally, the club returned Rule 5 Draft pick Danny Rosenbaum, a left-handed pitcher, to the Nationals to make room for free-agent righty Jon Garland, who was expected to make his signing official on Sunday afternoon.
All of the cuts, except for Molina, Paulsen and Dickerson, are members of the Rockies' 40-man roster.
The moves narrow the competition for three middle-relief roles and starting spots.
The back end of the bullpen is set, with closer Rafael Betancourt, righty setup men Matt Belisle and Wilton Lopez, and lefty setup man Rex Brothers. Still in the mix for middle-relief roles are righties Adam Ottavino and Edgmer Escalona, who are on the 40-man Major League roster, as well as non-roster invitees Manny Corpas, Miguel Batista and Chris Volstad.
Ottavino was effective in middle relief last year and is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA and one save this spring. Escalona, who is out of Minor League options and can't be sent down without being exposed to other clubs via waivers, has a 1.29 ERA in six appearances covering seven innings. Corpas, the team's closer during its World Series run in 2007 before elbow injuries reduced his effectiveness, has a 3.86 ERA in six spring appearances. Volstad, originally in the starter competition, has a 2.00 ERA in four Cactus League games.
Chatwood, who bounced between the Rockies and the Minors last season, was 1-1 with a 6.16 ERA with 13 strikeouts and 13 walks in six spring games. Outman was 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA and a .172 batting average against in six Cactus League games. Friedrich missed much of camp a back tightness and is 1-0 with a 10.80 ERA in two games.
The Rockies are down to 36 players in Major League camp, including nine non-roster invitees, and must be down to 25 active players by the April 1 home opener at Milwaukee.
Rox add veteran Garland on Major League deal
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies signed veteran right-hander Jon Garland to a Major League contract on Sunday. Garland met with club officials in the morning at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and took a physical to complete the deal.
Garland signed for a $500,000 base salary with incentives, according to a Major League source.
The Rockies cleared space on the Major League roster by returning left-handed reliever Danny Rosenbaum to the Nationals -- the team from which the Rockies selected him in the Rule 5 Draft.
Garland, 33, gives a veteran presence to a Rockies staff that entered Spring Training young and with a limited number of candidates. Garland has not pitched in the Majors since 2011, when he went 1-5 with a 4.33 ERA for the Dodgers and battled shoulder issues. After missing the 2012 season following shoulder surgery, he signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners last month and proved that he is healthy by going 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four Cactus League starts.
When it became clear that he would not be on Seattle's Opening Day roster, he requested and received his unconditional release on Saturday. It didn't take long for the Rockies, who considered Garland during the offseason, to sign him.
The Rockies eyed Garland because of his career 1.31 groundball-to-flyball rate. Rockies scouts had Garland's rate this spring at around 1.7.
"He profiles for us and the things we're trying to do," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's a veteran and he's got some stripes on his shoulder from his experiences in the game. There is some youth to our club, so he helps us from a stability standpoint. We'll see how it goes."
Weiss earlier in camp announced four starters -- Opening Day starter Jhoulys Chacin, home opener starter Jeff Francis, Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio.
Lefty Drew Pomeranz was in line for a rotation spot. A 2012 rookie season that saw him go 2-9 with a 4.93 ERA in 22 Major League starts prompted him to spend the offseason working to recapture the pitching motion that led the Indians to select him fifth overall in 2010. He was traded to the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez deal in 2011 and was in the Majors by season's end. Last year, he was trying to pitch a Major League-length season with little Minor League experience -- something rarely asked of a starter.
Early indications were that the Rockies would look at Pomeranz in a middle-relief role. However, Weiss said that is not necessarily the case. He had not spoken to Pomeranz as of Sunday, but said as it stands now if he isn't in the rotation he would more likely begin the year in Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Garland is 132-119 with a 4.32 ERA in 353 games (330 starts) for the White Sox, Angels, D-backs, Padres and Dodgers.
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.