Senzatela impresses Black against Rangers

Right-hander allows one hit and strikes out four over three innings

Senzatela impresses Black against Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- First-year Rockies manager Bud Black heard the enthusiastic scouting reports about right-hander Antonio Senzatela. Black saw for himself Tuesday.

Senzatela, the Rockies' No. 9 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, struck out four Rangers in three innings of a 3-2 Colorado win. Establishing a fastball early and working his breaking ball and changeup the final two innings, Senzatela held the Rangers to just one hit.

"The upper body works well," Black said of the 22-year-old. "He's got that high front side, sort of high three-quarter [motion], throws the ball downhill with some angle. He's got velocity, a nice, tight little slider, good changeup. Our Minor League people like this guy a lot. There's a reason for that."

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Senzatela was limited to seven starts at Double-A Hartford last year, partly because the Rockies were being very cautious by putting him on the disabled list twice with right shoulder soreness. The club also didn't announce that he returned to Venezuela during the season to be with his mother, who died of cancer.

But he went 4-1 with a 1.82 ERA last season, and in 2015, he earned the Class A Advanced California League Pitcher of the Year Award when he posted a 2.51 ERA over 26 starts, striking out 143 in 154 innings.

Despite the limited action last season, the Rockies consider Senzatela a competitor for a Major League roster spot and a slot in the rotation.

"I just tried to make good pitches, have good timing, compete a lot, and it was a really good day," Senzatela said. "I had my fastball command. It was a good day."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.