The Colorado Rockies have made their second round of spring training roster cuts, demoting three players to minor league camp; RHP Clayton Mortenson, INF Chris Nelson, and C Mike McKenry.
#Rockies option RHP Clayton Mortensen, catcher Mike McKenry & inf Chris Nelson to minor leagues. Rox have 42 in ML camp.
These three cuts are all casualties from the three most competitive position in camp and signify the remaining frontrunners.
Mike McKenry is a defensively-minded catcher who was heavily considered for the backup role behind Chris Iannetta. However, with his demotion it appears that McKenry is headed for AAA Colorado Springs, where he will likely be joined by top prospect Wilin Rosario. Jose Morales is now very likely to make the Opening Day roster.
Clayton Mortenson was acquired this offseason as starting pitching depth and was named as one of the candidates for the fifth starter role vacated by Aaron Cook (due to a broken finger). But with Esmil Rogers laying claim to that spot, and darkhorse candidates Greg Reynolds and John Maine close on his heels, there's simply not enough innings left in spring training for Mortenson to make his case. He is also a likely member of the AAA Colorado Springs rotation once their season starts.
The most competitive position in camp is second baseman. Chris Nelson, the Rockies' first round selection in 2005, has finally remained healthy enough to be considered for the role. After the offseason acquisition of Jose Lopez from the Seattle Mariners and the emergence of Jonathan Herrera as a legitimate candidate, there was simply no more room for Nelson. He will likely be the starter in AAA.
The Rockes now have 42 players left in camp, leaving 17 cuts to make before the final 25 man Opening Day roster is set.