06/04/11 5:43 PM EST
Rockies bolster left side of 'pen with Brothers
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Brothers, 23, a supplemental first-round choice (34th overall) in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, was 3-2 with a 2.89 ERA in 25 relief appearances covering 28 innings. Brothers led Pacific Coast League relievers in strikeouts. Brothers, who struck out 45 and walked 15, doubles the number of left-handers in the Rox's bullpen.
Manager Jim Tracy wants Brothers' initial appearances to come in "a couple of softer situations," but eventually Tracy anticipates receiving a lift from Brothers, who challenges the strike zone with his fastball and has a slider that could become an outstanding pitch.
"If this guy evolves the way we think he's capable of evolving and with the job Matt Reynolds is doing, it could create in my mind as dynamic a left side of the bullpen as there is in the game," Tracy said.
The Rockies delayed in bringing up Brothers, out of Lipscomb University in Nashville. Brothers was so dominant early, not giving up a run in his first 10 appearances, at Triple-A that the Rockies chose to wait until he was tested with some adversity. A few outings in which he didn't retire the first hitter, and Daley's injury, completed the process.
"I got lackadaisical a couple of times with the first batter and got a runner on, things like that," Brothers said. "It was a matter of locking it in earlier and not going through those mental swings when I wasn't really dialed in at that moment.
"You've got to have failure before you can have success. Any athlete knows that. It's a learning process. I plan on learning throughout my whole career."
Brothers excelled against Major Leaguers such as the Rangers' Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz, who were in Triple-A on injury rehab assignments, and had a strong Spring Training. He fanned reigning National League Most Valuable Player Joey Votto in a key at-bat during a Cactus League game against the Reds. Pitching coach Bob Apodaca said Brothers still needs to refine his slider and use it to both sides of the plate, but his fearlessness gives him favorable odds when it comes to handling the ups and downs in the Majors.
Brothers arrives with confidence.
"You like to face those guys and compete with those guys, because you obviously know who they are," Brothers said. "It's fun. For me, that was why you play the games."
Daley goes on DL with inflamed shoulder
SAN FRANCISCO -- Right shoulder inflammation made for a couple of frustrating outings for Rockies reliever Matt Daley and, eventually, a trip to the disabled list for the second year in a row. Lefty Rex Brothers was called up to replace him.
Daley, who began the year at Triple-A Colorado Springs said the pain began last Saturday, the day after he gave up three runs on two hits and a walk in a one-inning appearance against the Cardinals. In his last outing Tuesday night, he yielded a three-run homer to Casey Blake in the Rockies' 8-2 loss to the Dodgers.
The pain this year is toward the side and front of the shoulder, rather than the back, and a little sharper than it was last year, when he was limited to 28 appearances after pitching 57 times as a rookie in 2009.
"It's really frustrating, with all the work I put in during the offseason to prepare myself, to be right back in the same spot," said Daley, who will be examined by Rockies doctors Monday.
Daley had a 10.50 ERA in seven relief appearances with the Rockies.
Young in center over Fowler vs. lefty
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy wanted to stabilize his lineup, but the number of strikeouts from center fielder Dexter Fowler has him wondering if that's possible.
Tracy dropped Fowler from leadoff to No. 2 in recent games to No. 8 Friday night. But the Giants' Matt Cain struck out Fowler three times, once with the bases loaded, and Fowler is 3-for-16 during the current road trip.
On Saturday, the Rockies faced left-hander Madison Bumgarner, which would have allowed Fowler to bat from his more natural right side. However, Fowler is hitting .226 from the right. He's at .242 from the left and .238 overall.
Saturday's lineup had Eric Young Jr. in center. Young had hit .296 in six appearances since being called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Although Young played the majority of the time in Triple-A in center, there is a dramatic difference between his range and that of Fowler. Young also has looked unsure of himself at second base, his main position for much of his career.
Continued struggles from Fowler could lead to the Rockies calling up power-hitting Charlie Blackmon (.341, 10 homers, 49 RBIs at Colorado Springs) to play left and moving Carlos Gonzalez to center. Colorado Springs also has Major League veteran center fielder Willy Taveras.
If Young ends up starting for any length of time, Fowler becomes a late-innings defensive replacement. The Rockies expected more.
"There is concern. ... We're trying to do things to generate offensive opportunity with guys on base for the middle of our order," Tracy said.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.