SAN DIEGO -- Right-handed reliever Josh Roenicke has pitched enough innings that the Rockies should call him an honorary starting pitcher.
At 57 1/3 innings, Roenicke (2-0, 2.20 ERA) went into Sunday leading Major League relievers. The Rockies are developing a paired pitching system featuring five starters and three hybrid types who can either pitch at length when the starter is ineffective or handle matchups. The work Roenicke, 29, has done is research and development when it comes to solidifying what the club envisions for that hybrid role.
"We [pitchers] didn't know where things were going to go when we first announced it, either," said Roenicke, who has a 0.61 ERA in his 12 outings of two or more innings.
Interestingly, the shorter Roenicke's appearances, the better the games are for the Rockies. He has done well covering extended innings, but usually he has to pitch so long because the starter has already pitched the Rockies into a hole. Still, if he can stop a game from getting out of control, the Rockies' offense has a chance to pull the team back into the contest.
Roenicke said he has been able to handle the work.
"My arm has been bouncing back real well this year," said Roenicke, who threw two scoreless innings Friday night against the Padres in his last outing. "Usually after one day off, I feel decent, and they usually give me two off before I throw again, and I always feel 100 percent by then."