Iannetta's hot bat earns him more time

Iannetta's hot bat earns him more time

MIAMI -- Chris Iannetta realizes the Rockies' operation works best with two catchers.

The past two games Iannetta caught ended up shutouts for Rockies pitching -- Sunday against the Reds and Tuesday against the Marlins. That was one reason Rockies manager Jim Tracy went with him for a second straight game on Wednesday, against the Marlins. Miguel Olivo, the primary catcher for much of this season, will start Thursday's day game after resting for two games.

Iannetta entered Wednesday 11 for his past 35, with five home runs and 10 RBIs.

"From a business standpoint and a team-building standpoint, to have two catchers of the caliber that the Rockies have right now is very beneficial for the team and the organization," Iannetta said.

But baseball is a people business, and Iannetta is more than just a name on the roster sheet.

The plan all along once the Rockies signed Iannetta for three years and $8.35 million, and signed Olivo for two years and $2.5 million, was for them to share the job. Long games in Colorado's climate dictate such a plan. Iannetta struggled early and wound up toiling at Triple-A Colorado Springs from April 27 to May 25.

However, all that is past. Iannetta, developed through the club's Minor League system, is making a lot of people happy. Iannetta struggled in 2007 and 2009 -- years that the Rockies went to the playoffs -- and ended up sitting behind Yorvit Torrealba, now with the Padres. Now it looks as if Iannetta will be a big part of a club in a playoff race.

"I've always said that I want to play to my potential and I want to be a part of it," Iannetta said. "I want to be a good teammate, good friend to a lot of the guys and help them win."

Offensively, Iannetta has figured out how to make his patience at the plate work for him in the Majors. At times he earned criticism for being overly patient. Now he's showing the ability to lay off key pitches that aren't strikes, and demonstrating the strength to solidly put balls in play even when he's had to adjust his timing.

"I'm not doing something magically different," Iannetta said. "It's just happening."

Tracy said he is more excited about Iannetta's defensive work. The two shutouts were starts by veterans Aaron Cook and Jeff Francis, who had struggled to various degrees.

"I've had a lot of very emphatic conversations with him about the importance of 60 feet, six inches between two players on our field and how that can win and lose," Tracy said. "That's something I believe he has really embraced."