Chad Kuhl is working on the liquidation of Rockies Spring Training

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Some experiments, like the one Rockies right-hander Chad Kuhl attempted in the first inning of a 13-2 loss to the Giants on Thursday afternoon, erupted into a fizzy chemical mess. But when you’ve been in the lab as long as Kuhl, you clean up and write down the results.

Kuhl changed the positioning of his hand in his windup, bringing his glove below his belt instead of at navel level. After serving back-to-back home runs to Tommy La Stella and Brandon Crawford of the Giants and three walks, Kuhl walked off the mound before the end of the inning. Heath Holder finished it.

But, remember, Spring Training is a test. He was therefore allowed to return. The second set was heartbreaking in a different way – not just two more runs, but three hard hit balls directly at him, one of which knocked his glove off. But he came back for the third and finished his outing with his third strikeout.

Kuhl washed away all the bad as soon as he hit receiver Elias Díaz.

It can be different and a bit nerve-wracking for new Kuhl fans, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal at the start of Spring Training. But 100 Major League games, including 84 starts, in five seasons with the Pirates gives him the leeway to develop without obsessing over results.

“Zero percent worry,” Kuhl said. “Knowing this is the second time I’ve pitched out to a live hitter, I’m totally okay with where I am and where I’m going to end up.

“I’ve been pretty consistent throughout my big league career if you look at the back of my baseball card.”

The Rockies targeted Kuhl, and Kuhl agreed, because of his lead. When the season begins – Kuhl face the Guardians on Tuesday in the final game of the Cactus League – manager Bud Black just wants this pitch to be effective.

“He has to get the ball down in the strike zone, work when needed, but stay on the ground consistently,” Black said. “He’s going to throw one side and make another out. It’s a shortened spring, that’s the reality. He’s a veteran pitcher. He’s been there before. He needs to make some adjustments in this parallel session to get the ball down consistently.

What was the purpose of the change?

“I was trying to be herded on the mound,” Kuhl said. “It actually made me feel slower instead of more fluid and balanced on the mound.”

Kuhl said he would have come out of the second with less damage if he had “aligned my position better”. After La Stella’s understudy ripped off his glove, Crawford’s ground smash hit the heel of his glove. A clean pickup would have triggered a double play.

As Kuhl explained, major leaguers often experiment in hopes of unlocking production. And if that doesn’t lead to the improved execution he’s looking for, like Thursday’s release, at least it’s information.

One piece of information, however, is irrelevant to him.

“I’ll probably never even look at that box score, because it doesn’t matter,” he said. “So I’m just going to go through the video, watch what I did and what I felt, compare the two, and then move on from there.”

The roster limit is 28 for the first month with no cap on the number of pitchers. The rule becomes 26 with 13 pitchers on May 2.

Thursday’s options of left-hander Ben Bowden and right-hander Jordan Sheffield at Minor League camp leave the Rockies with 15 healthy pitchers at camp. Scott Oberg (blood clots) is already on the 60-day injured list, and right-hander Peter Lambert felt a pinch in his elbow early in camp and is on a delayed schedule.

Will the Rockies keep the 15 or go with 14? A lot can happen between now and the April 8 regular season opener at home against the Dodgers.

Two of the three pitchers on board pitched Thursday.

• Right-hander Justin Lawrence had a good spring overall despite giving up two runs — a hit followed by a triple from Wyatt Mathisen — against the Giants. Lawrence’s development of a breaking ball accelerated his progress. Steps were an issue in Major League action last year, and Black said his “ball-to-shot ratio wasn’t great” and needed to avoid deep counts.

• Right-hander Ashton Goudeau, who allowed two runs (one on a home run by Luis González) in 2 2/3 innings, is up for a role in multiple innings. Black said Goudeau had a crisp 93-94 mph fastball with a misplaced breaking ball.

• Unregistered southpaw Ty Blach, who pitched two scoreless innings against the Angels on Wednesday, appears to be in fine form. He worked as a starter this spring, which means he could be conditioned to start if the April weather forces a doubleheader.