Street eager to find solutions
Demoted Rockies closer will pitch before seventh inning
PHOENIX -- Rockies relief pitcher Huston Street met with pitching coach Bob Apodaca in a hallway in the Chase Field visitor's clubhouse Monday and enthusiastically offered possible answers to his poor early-season numbers.
Street believes a slight shift in his foot positioning on the rubber could unlock the pitcher who has earned 95 saves since 2005. At 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA, 10 hits and three home runs in 4 2/3 innings, with his closing job taken away, a positive spirit is Street's best friend.
"I guess the numbers look horrible, because they are," Street said. "For me, the way I approach it is I've gotten it done the last four years. I know that I'm going to make the adjustments."
Manager Clint Hurdle removed Street from the closer role -- and replaced him with Manuel Corpas -- after he gave up a home run, a walk and a single and was lifted from a save opportunity against the Cubs on Wednesday.
In two outings since, Street has pitched two innings and given up two hits and one run -- on a homer by the Dodgers' Matt Kemp on Sunday. Street noted that in those two games, a little adjustment in his arm angle has lifted his fastball velocity from 88 mph to 91-92.
Hurdle said before Monday night's game against the D-backs that Street, who didn't pitch before the eighth inning in any of his six games, will pitch earlier. Right-hander Jason Grilli and left-hander Alan Embree will pitch the seventh and eighth innings, with matchups determining when each pitcher appears.
Street's woes are the biggest problem with a bullpen that is 0-3 with a 6.63 ERA in 36 2/3 innings this season. His problems carry extra weight because last year's primary setup man, Taylor Buchholz, is out with a strained right elbow ligament.
Hurdle said the Rockies talked about using Street in multiple innings to give him more repetitions, but backed away from that. He's rarely gone more than one inning in his career, and the Rockies don't want to risk his health. Street suffered a hip flexor injury while with the Athletics last season.
"We want to work Huston in where it's appropriate and give him a routine where every other day he's pitching, to tighten things up," Hurdle said.
After four appearances last season, Street had the same 9.64 ERA he carries now. He gained his form and pitched solidly until the hip flexor problem began to affect him. So Street isn't panicking.
"I've just got to keep the ball in the ballpark," Street said. "You make a mistake, they hit a homer. Sometimes they hit a double. But am I worried? No. Am I anxious? No.
"I show up every day with the same expectation, to put up a zero. That's just what I need to start doing."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.