Trio of former GJ Rox get spring-training invites

Three former Grand Junction Rockies pitchers will join the big-league club for spring training as nonroster invitees.

The club’s top two right-handed pitching prospects, Eddie Butler and Jon Gray, started their careers in Grand Junction and are among the 24 players not on the Major League roster invited to spring training. Right-hander Scott Oberg, Grand Junction’s closer in 2012, also got a spring-training invitation.

Butler, who pitched on Grand Junction’s inaugural club in 2012 and went from Class A Asheville to Class A Advanced Modesto to Class AA Tulsa last season, is one of 12 pitchers invited to spring training.

Butler pitched in Major League Baseball’s Futures Game last summer and went 1-0 with a 0.65 ERA with 25 strikeouts and six walks in six games at Tulsa after stellar performances at the lower levels.

He finished with 143 strikeouts and 52 walks at the three levels combined, with a 1.80 ERA in
149 2/3 innings.

Gray, the Rockies’ top draft pick last season (No. 3 overall), spent the first part of last season in Grand Junction developing his changeup to complement his fastball and slider.

He appeared in four games with Grand Junction on a limited pitch count, compiling a 4.05 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings. He then was sent to Modesto, where he blew hitters away, going 4-0 with a 0.75 ERA, 36 strikeouts and only six walks in 24 innings.

Oberg was Modesto’s closer last season, appearing in 56 games and recording 33 saves. He struck out 61 and walked 27 in 53 1/3 innings of work.

Several minor league players have been at the Rockies’ training facility in the Dominican Republic for several days of work leading up to spring training, including 2012 top draft pick David Dahl. The 2012 Pioneer League MVP played only 10 games last season at Asheville before a torn hamstring put him on the disabled list.

Pitchers and catchers report to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Feb. 15, with the first full-squad workout Feb. 23.

The nonroster invitees are:

Pitchers: Christian Bergman, Brooks Brown, Greg Burke, Eddie Butler, Manuel Corpas, Yohan Flande, Jon Gray, Pedro Hernandez, Chris Martin, Nick Masset, Scott Oberg, Josh Sullivan.

Catchers: Ryan Casteel, Dustin Garneau, Matt McBride, Michael McKenry, Tom Murphy, Jackson Williams.

Infielders: Paul Janish, Angelys Nina, Ben Paulsen, Rafael Ynoa.

Outfielders: Jason Pridie, Tim Wheeler.

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