Roenicke thriving in pivotal role out of bullpen

Roenicke thriving in pivotal role out of bullpen

NEW YORK -- If someone unfamiliar with the Rockies' tandem-style rotation were to look at Josh Roenicke's numbers, it'd be easy to see how they would assume he is a starter.

Roenicke got the night off on Monday -- it was his scheduled day in the piggyback role -- to rest his arm. The right-hander has already logged 72 2/3 innings in 2012 -- more than his last three seasons combined and more than some fifth starters around baseball.

"We've backed off of him, but to sit here and tell you that he won't resume some of the responsibility that he and [Adam] Ottavino and Carlos Torres have been doing would be a misnomer," manager Jim Tracy said. "He'll more than likely venture back into that again."

Roenicke, Ottavino and Torres each work every third day to serve as extended relievers for Colorado's four-man rotation. The team made the move in mid-June, and since has held it's four starters to a strict 75-pitch limit.

Roenicke has been great for the Rockies this season, but the heavy workload may have caught up to him of late. Though he still boasts a sub-3.00 ERA on the year, he has given up seven earned runs over his last 3 1/3 innings entering Tuesday -- spread out over three relief appearances. Guillermo Moscoso filled in for Roenicke on Monday and tossed 2 1/3 innings of shutout ball in relief of starter Alex White.

"Once they put Moscoso in the bullpen, I think it was easy for them to put him in the piggyback role, especially since his arm is built up from all of those innings," Roenicke said. "But for now, I'll just pitch one inning at a time, get my arm back on track and refresh it, and we'll go from there."

Tracy reaffirmed that, as it stands, Roenicke will pitch in more of a typical relief role, but he added that Roenicke will likely move back to the piggyback slot in the future.