SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Center fielder Dexter Fowler is making Rockies fans happy, not nervous, this spring.
Fowler lashed two hits, including a first-pitch home run to open the sixth inning against former teammate Matt Reynolds, in the Rockies' 4-3 triumph over the D-backs at a sold-out Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on Tuesday afternoon.
The switch-hitting Fowler's 2-for-3 afternoon lifted his batting average to a reassuring .400 through eight Cactus League appearances. He also has three extra-base hits, two doubles and the homer, from the right side against the lefty Reynolds. After hitting a career-high 13 homers last season, Fowler has developed into a power threat from the leadoff slot.
It's a major improvement from last spring, when Fowler hit .149 in 21 games. It was enough of a concern that then-manager Jim Tracy dropped him to eighth in the order at times during the early part of the season. New manager Walt Weiss doesn't have that worry, although Fowler insisted then and believes now that there's little need to put too much stock in the Cactus League.
"It's still Spring Training, just trying to get ready for the season," Fowler said.
The power, he said, comes from experience.
"It's just knowing the league and knowing the people you're playing against," Fowler said. "I've been playing against them for going on five years now. That always gets a little easier."
The Rockies' Ben Paulsen and Henry Wrigley each had run-scoring doubles.
Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood, competing for a spot either in the rotation or in middle relief, threw a solid four innings, during which he gave up two runs on four hits. Chatwood struck out two against one walk, and forced eight groundouts.
Chatwood dueled with D-backs right-hander Josh Collmenter, who already has been placed in a long-relief role. Collmenter gave up one run and four hits in his four innings for a D-backs split-squad. The rest of the squad played the Mariners in Peoria, Ariz.
D-backs right-hander Brad Ziegler continued his stellar spring by striking out one during a spotless fifth inning.
Up next: The D-backs play their second night game of the spring Wednesday night against the Brewers at Salt River Fields, live on MLB.TV and a free dbacks.com audio webcast at 7:10 p.m. MST. It's a big start for right-hander Randall Delgado, who is battling Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin for the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Delgado struggled a bit in his first two outings this spring, but was much better in a rain-shortened appearance against the Angels last week. The game also features the scheduled returns to the lineup by Miguel Montero, Martin Prado and Gerardo Parra, who played for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
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.Less