Spring training for the Colorado Rockies is becoming less meaningless as opening day looms—just 11 days away in Milwaukee. So when closer Huston Street tweaked his throwing shoulder earlier this month, questions about the Rockies’ bullpen started to bubble to the surface.
But now, The Denver Post reports that the bullpen is starting to come together, and Street’s injury and the subsequent re-shuffling has revealed the team’s depth in the pitching arena.
Reliever Rafael Betancourt looked good earlier this week coming off a three-week break due to his own shoulder stiffness. He hit all his pitches and says he’ll definitely be ready for opening day April 5.
The Rockies have also re-signed left-handed reliever Joe Beimel to a minor-league contract, adding another lefty option out of the bullpen (via Bleacher Report). Beimel tells the Post he’ll make the Rockies roster by opening day, a scenario manager Jim Tracy calls “unfeasible.”
Other relief pitchers looking to make an impact right away are Franklin Morales, who is pretty much guaranteed to fill in as closer until Street (pictured) returns, and Matt Belisle, whom Tracy calls a sure thing for the opening-day roster. Still more relievers are waiting in the wings, such as Justin Speier, Juan Rincon, Tim Redding, and Manny Corpas, giving the team’s pitching squad good depth.
“Who makes this ‘pen? We are going to have two big-league ‘pens, one in Denver and one in Colorado Springs. We are going to be fine,” Street tells the Post, which reports in a separate article that the Rockies’ chances for success are finally starting to take root at the national level.
Two of three national broadcasters have picked the Rockies to win the National League West, with another—former star pitcher Orel Hershiser—not quite there. They cite the pitching depth and the potential offensive explosion from guys like Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzales as reasons that the division is the Rockies’ to lose.