08/31/08 5:27 PM ET
Melhuse a solid backup at catcher
Veteran backstop started career with Rockies, back for more
By Ronald P. Clark / MLB.com
His previous stint with the club, while short, helped Melhuse become familiar with the team, and the team is familiar with him.
"He's caught a lot in the big leagues," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's handled staffs, and he's studied pitchers. It is one of the roles of a No. 2 guy, which he has been on a number of clubs."
Melhuse, who will serve as the backup to catcher Chris Iannetta, settled into his role as a backup catcher during his tenure with the Oakland A's from 2003-07, so he understands what is expected of him.
"A solid No. 2 guy is knowing the staff, giving the starter an occasional day off and maybe handling a certain pitcher," Hurdle said. "He's experienced and he got to know our guys during his one week with us earlier in the year. I think he is going to be a nice complement to Iannetta. I think we're fortunate we are able to draw on him in Torrealba's absence."
Melhuse spent 37 games with Triple-A Colorado Springs after signing with the club as a Minor League free agent on June 24. He was previously with the Texas Rangers.
"I was hoping to come back up in September," Melhuse said. "When I signed with these guys, that's kind of what I had in mind. I was called up the first time just as an emergency, so I didn't get to see much action. But hopefully this time around will be a little different, and I'll be able to get out there and show what I can do and make a good impression for next year."
Melhuse, who started his career with the Rockies in 2000, has more of an understanding of who he is as a player and what he brings to the table. Earlier in his career, that wasn't the case.
"The first time around it was my first time in the big leagues, so I really didn't know where I was fitting in this whole thing," Melhuse said. "Would I be a backup or a utility guy in the National League or what? So it was kind of shaky. I didn't really get a chance to do a whole lot. So it was tough. It was an adjustment. It definitely opened my eyes. Getting over to Oakland for four or five years in a set role as a backup helped me out a lot."
Melhuse will be able to look back on his experience and help a team that is looking to make a final push to possibly replicate the late-season surge that sent it into the playoffs and on to the World Series last year.
"It's never ho-hum when you're in a playoff race, but I've been there so I know what it's like," said Melhuse, who went to the playoffs with Oakland in 2003 and '06. "You try to not get too high or too low and try to stay on an even keel and just keep pushing to the finish line. That's seems to be what's happening here. So as far as I can see, we're headed in the right direction."
Ronald P. Clark is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.