Rox Notes: Matt Reynolds getting long look
Left-hander Matt Reynolds hasn’t pitched above Double-A Tulsa, but he has a 2.65 ERA since being drafted in the 20th round out of Austin Peay in 2007 and is coming off a strong performance in the 2009 Arizona Fall League.
Now he’s squarely on the big-league radar.
Left-hander Franklin Morales is expected to be the closer, which means the Rockies will need another lefty alongside Randy Flores, who appears OK after taking a line drive off his left forearm on Wednesday.
Given Reynolds’ pro experience and the fact it’s his first big-league camp, the expectation would be he would return to Tulsa or go to Triple-A Colorado Springs if he pitches well this spring. But given the role available, manager Jim Tracy is looking at him as a candidate.
“Is he a candidate? Yes, he is,” Tracy said. “Will we do that? I don’t know. I’m not going to answer that question today.
“A lot of things depend upon where our bullpen scenario goes over the course of the next 10-12 days.”
It makes sense. More-experienced lefties will be available, but they’re more costly. The Rockies will have to determine if they are or are not more talented than Reynolds. The Rockies’ other experienced lefty, non-roster invitee Jimmy Gobble, is trying to return from a right groin strain. He has continued throwing, but it isn’t certain when he’ll return to game action.
Tracy used Reynolds for two innings of Saturday’s 11-10 Cactus League victory over the Angels.
Of particular interest to Tracy was Reynolds’ reaction to Juan Rivera’s leadoff homer on a 2-0 pitch in the seventh, which put the Rockies behind, 7-6. Reynolds worked Brandon Wood into a fly ball, and fanned Robb Quinlan and Terry Evans.
“What happens after the home run is hit?” Tracy said. “Do we get tentative, start spraying them all over and start avoiding the bat, or do we keep going after it. He continued to go after the bat. That’ s an encouraging sign as far as I’m concerned.”
The homer was the only hit off Reynolds. He struck out two and walked one.
— The Rockies optioned right-hander Esmil Rogers to Minor League camp. Rogers made one big-league appearance last season, but is considered part of the club’s rich pitching depth.
— Righty Matt Belisle vanquished the Angels on a groundball and two fly balls in his lone inning, and has had four scoreless appearances covering five innings.
Tracy used Belisle in significant situations last September and used him in the National League Division Series against the Phillies. The only limitation Tracy faces is how often he can use Belisle, who has periodic bouts with forearm tightness after his appearances.
Belisle went up and down between the Rockies and Triple-A Colorado Springs last year. His issue, a lack of aggressiveness, didn’t show up during his last callup. he has continued to attack, saying pitching when it really counted helped his confidence.
“That just poured gasoline on the fire,” Belisle said.