2013 Outlook: Young should be asset off the bench

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The more Eric Young Jr. proves he deserves playing time, the harder it is to describe him.

He's on the Rockies' roster as an outfielder. New manager Walt Weiss is reintroducing him to second base and has mentioned third as a possibility. Young played well enough when injuries forced him into the lineup last year and has continued that this spring (batting .406 in 11 games), which just might be erasing the description that he spent last spring trying to earn: bench player.

Last year under manager Jim Tracy, Young, 27, was the out-of-options, make-or-break guy who had the strong spring he needed to earn a roster spot. He responded with 14 pinch-hits -- second most in the Majors. But Young hit .339 and had a .387 on-base percentage as a starter, mostly when Michael Cuddyer was out with an oblique injury. Young's season ended in August with an oblique issue, but he's not lost the groove.

"It's easy to get typecast, especially if you are having success off the bench," Young said. "In my mindset, I want to give my best effort whenever my opportunity arises, whether that's starting or coming off the bench. I was just being used coming off the bench so it seemed like that was the only time I had success. All I wanted was the opportunity to go out there and show on an everyday basis what can happen."

He's not a clear starter, but the strong spring and the look of the lineup when the switch-hitting Young hits leadoff and center fielder Dexter Fowler drops from leadoff to second could spell at least semi-regular starts.

The Rockies have a solid outfield in Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer, and Tyler Colvin showed power last season. Cuddyer and Colvin can spell Todd Helton at first base.

Young has played 15 innings at second base this spring. Although his struggles there led to the move to the outfield, Young has a new chance to show he can help the team at his old spot.

"It's my natural position -- I never lost confidence, always felt the same there, just wasn't getting the reps there," Young said. "Like I've been saying all spring, I just want the at-bats. If I can get the at-bats, I can do something.

"Whatever position I need to play, that's fine, whether it's outfield or second base or third base. It's all the same thing, catch the ball, throw it to the next person."

Scahill making case for middle-relief role with Rox

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies have taken a long look at right-hander Rob Scahill.

Scahill, 26, an eighth-round pick out of Bradley in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft, started 29 games at Triple-A Colorado Springs last year and had just one relief appearance in 98 Minor League games. But in his six-game Major League debut last season, he pitched exclusively in relief and posted a 1.04 ERA.

This spring, Scahill has a 1.93 ERA, one save with two walks and a strikeout in five relief appearances covering 4 2/3 innings, with his work coming at the end of games. He appears to be toward the back of the line when it comes to candidates for middle-relief roles on the season-opening roster, but he could be hard to ignore.

"I was told that hybrid [middle-relief] role is what I should expect, and I've gotten lucky enough that I've been able to get in games," Scahill said. "It just so happens that it's been in the ninth inning. I've been getting opportunities to show what I can do and for the most part I've done well. That's all I can do."

Scahill was 9-11 with a 5.68 ERA, 159 strikeouts and 74 walks last year at Colorado Springs and has 461 strikeouts to 213 walks in his Minor League career. Scahill, who has confidence in his fastball and slider and is trying to develop a changeup, said being in the bullpen has increased his desire to attack the strike zone.

"I'm a lot more aggressive, which I should've been as a starter, looking back at it," Scahill said. "Out of the bullpen I try to come after people with my best stuff."

Worth noting

• First baseman Todd Helton, who is coming off hip and knee surgeries and gradually working into playing shape, went 2-for-3 in seven innings Thursday night. He will not play in either split-squad game on Friday, manager Walt Weiss said.

• Right-hander Edgmer Escalona, out of Minor League options but making a strong bid to make the Rockies bullpen, threw a scoreless inning with one hit and two strikeouts, and has a 1.29 Cactus League ERA.

• Right-hander Chris Volstad, whom the Rockies are converting to relief, gave up two hits and a run in two innings.

• Lefty reliever Rex Brothers added a shutout inning Thursday and now has thrown six scoreless innings this spring.

• Infielder Jonathan Herrera, making a late push to hold off challengers for his roster spot, went 2-for-2 with a triple off the bench Thursday and is hitting .333.