Bullpen questions remain unanswered

Bullpen questions remain unanswered

Bullpen questions remain unanswered
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-handed pitcher Matt Reynolds, trying to hang onto a bullpen spot, served up a home run to White Sox left-handed hitter Adam Dunn after entering in the ninth inning with a three-run lead.

Reynolds struck out two in the inning and finished the 3-1 victory with a save. But he has given up four earned runs in 8 1/3 innings.

Manager Jim Tracy has announced that primary lefty setup man Rex Brothers and multi-innings lefty Josh Outman have made the season-opening squad. Reynolds, 27, who came up in 2010 and spent all of last season with the Rockies, is battling for a spot in the final days of camp.

Tracy said last year he might have overused Reynolds, who finished the year having yielded a .292 batting average to left-handed hitters.

"Obviously, if he's going to be on the club, that's an important aspect," Tracy said. "Today is Saturday and we're still playing games from now until next Wednesday. We'll keep an eye on it and we'll keep going forward. We'll get there eventually."

Reynolds' struggles add to the questions the Rockies must answer by the end of camp. By planning not to activate left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz until he is needed on April 15, Tracy can afford to carry the two players competing for the final bench job -- Eric Young Jr., who is out of Minor League options, and Jonathan Herrera, who unlike Young can be sent down without being exposed to other clubs via waivers. But Tracy also entertained the idea of filling that spot with an eighth reliever.

Closer Rafael Betancourt, righty setup man Matt Belisle, Brothers and Outman have secured spots. Right-handers Josh Roenicke, who has had a standout camp, and Esmil Rogers are out of Minor League options, so the Rockies risk losing them if they don't keep them.

One righty who can force his way into the picture is Alex White, who had been a starter and is being converted with hopes of using his two-seam and four-seam fastballs with his slider -- if he can become consistent with the slider.

"He's another guy we're still doing some evaluating and some fitting and asking ourselves the question," Tracy said. "Having the ball in the strike zone is very important, and in the strike zone with some movement. He's the type of guy with the ground-ball capability in a first-and-third situation. These are all things you're asking yourself questions about after each and every game you play."

Edgmer Escalona, who has options, also is a possibility.