Rockies aim to keep season on the down low

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - In the dry, thin air of Colorado, fly balls are folly.

The Rockies believe the best way to escape the NL West basement is to keep everything on the ground floor.

Right-hander Jon Gray says you have to be a groundball pitcher to play for the Rockies.

The philosophy of keeping the ball low in the strike zone is apparent wherever you go in Colorado's spring training complex. Manager Walt Weiss preaches it in team meetings and to reporters. Strings are often set up in front of the catchers in the bullpen to measure the success rate.

The Rockies saw the number of home runs allowed drop to 159 last year from 198 in 2012. But Colorado needs even more success if it hopes to become a contender.