McCarthy goes long in second spring start

McCarthy goes long in second spring start

McCarthy goes long in second spring start
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio threw three strong innings on Friday in his first game action since suffering a frightening neck injury last August.

Nicasio, who suffered a broken vertebrae after being hit in the head by a liner by the Nationals' Ian Desmond on Aug. 5, held the Athletics to one unearned run and five hits in three innings of his Cactus League debut in Oakland's 6-4 victory. The first hit, a single by Eric Sogard, zoomed frighteningly close to Nicasio, but he maintained composure. A passed ball charged to catcher Wilin Rosario set up the Athletics' only run off Nicasio, which came on Josh Reddick's single.

"I felt good and was excited," Nicasio said. "I was not nervous. I went to the mound and threw strikes. That's my job."

The Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki opened the second with a double off Athletics starter Brandon McCarthy, took third on Todd Helton's grounder and scored on Michael Cuddyer's sacrifice fly. Tulowitzki doubled with two outs in the fourth and scored on Helton's double for a 2-1 lead. McCarthy struck out three and gave up two runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings.

The Athletics pulled ahead with two sixth-inning runs against Rockies rotation hopeful Tyler Chatwood. Coco Crisp led off with a triple and scored on Kurt Suzuki's one-out single. Josh Donaldson added an RBI double. Chatwood struck out four in three innings.

Athletics outfield prospect Grant Green hit a solo homer in the eighth off Rockies left-handed pitching prospect Edwar Cabrera.

Athletics up next: It'll be a big day on Saturday against the Reds at 12:05 p.m. PT, with outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Manny Ramirez expected to be in the lineup. The Cuban star is set to make his first Cactus League start, batting second, while Ramirez has missed the past three games with a sore back. Manny will DH, while Cespedes will play center field. The A's are expected to throw Bartolo Colon against Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto.

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.