Ottavino to assume closer role from Estevez

Ottavino to assume closer role from Estevez

DENVER -- After consecutive blown saves that ballooned his ERA to 5.18, Carlos Estevez has been removed from the closer role by Rockies manager Walt Weiss, who wants to "just to let him catch his breath."

Weiss will primarily use Adam Ottavino, who was the closer last season before undergoing Tommy John surgery, to close games.

"Part of my responsibility as the manager is to put guys in positions to succeed, and he's a young player," Weiss said. "You guys know how I feel about him. I've talked about how he's made of all the right stuff and he's going to be a great closer in this league for a long time.

"That closer role is different from any other role in the bullpen, because your failures never go unnoticed and you feel like you let your team down because the game is over. These are great lessons for Carlos as a young closer in this league."

Zinkie on Rockies' new closer

Estevez had been consistent before his past two outings. Since being named closer on June 11, he had converted 11 of 12 save opportunities and only allowed two runs. However, blown saves have been an issue for the Rockies all season; their 16 blown saves are tied for the sixth most in the Major Leagues.

Jake McGee, who entered the season as the team's closer, has four of them, and he has a 5.73 ERA since coming off the 15-day disabled list with a left MCL sprain on July 2. He has also put eight of the past 14 batters he's faced on base over his past five outings.

Ottavino has not allowed a run in 11 2/3 innings this season, and his scoreless streak goes back 26 1/3 innings to Sept. 7, 2014. The team has been easing him back into action coming off the surgery, and he pitched in consecutive games for the first time last Thursday and Friday.

"For the most part, I'll go with Otto," Weiss said. "That's not to say that I won't use him in the eighth if it's a right-handed inning. … He's throwing the ball really well, he's bounced back well. He feels confident, and physically he's ready to take that on."

Right-hander Scott Oberg could be another option to close. He saved nine games for Triple-A Albuquerque this season and has a 2.57 ERA in eight appearances since being recalled on July 23.

Miller has a setback

Right-hander Justin Miller left his rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque and returned to the Major League team after aggravating his left oblique strain. He will take time to rest it before resuming his rehab.

"I threw [Sunday] and it was raining, and I started warming up and felt it a little bit," Miller said. "I think it was the second-to-last hitter, I slipped on the pitch and felt it. I tried to get through it, and luckily for me, the power went out so I was able to get off the field and tell the trainers."

Story moves forward

Rookie shortstop Trevor Story continues his rehab from a torn UCL in his left thumb. He is set to have sutures removed on Aug. 19 and will be able to start lower body and core workouts then. He will have his cast removed in two weeks and will have his wrist immobilized in a smaller cast for five to six weeks.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.