It was one outing. Hardly long enough to form an impression. But if Juan Nicasio's spring debut proved anything, it's that the Rockies should continue looking to trade for starting pitching and keep the competition open for the final two rotation slots.
"Guys have to go out and pitch well. They are always being evaluated," manager Walt Weiss said. "Guys like (Jeff) Francis, (Jhoulys) Chacin and (Jorge) De La Rosa have a track record."
Nicasio doesn't. He has missed about half the past two seasons because of fluke injuries. A line drive broke his neck. Then, in attempting to field a comebacker, he twisted his left knee, requiring micro- fracture surgery.
What Nicasio demonstrated Sunday is that he still needs work. He has plenty of time, because spring training is longer than the last day of school. The concern is not that he allowed four hits and four runs (one earned) or that the contact off the bat was loud.
The problem?
He lost his delivery in his second inning, getting uncomfortably out of sync during a 43-pitch outing. What's more, he had no second or third pitch, though he attempted a battery of sliders and changeups. It's why I've suggested that he might be better suited to be a reliever.
"His slider was fine. I had him throwing changeups when he was ahead. It's a feel pitch," catcher Ramon Hernandez said. "He has to have a third pitch if he's going to start, because hitters will figure him out."
Nicasio's fastball Sunday ranged from 91 to 96 mph. It's a weapon, one that has some run but not a lot of sink. He needs a complementary piece.

Read more: Next chapter in Rockies' Juan Nicasio story needs better pitching performance - The Denver Post
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