DENVER -- Rockies left-hander Josh Outman needed to find his delivery, no matter where he pitched.
The Rockies sent Outman to the Minors just before the All-Star break, but rather than to Triple-A Colorado Springs, they sent him to Double-A Tulsa. There was some shock at going to a level from which he graduated four years ago in the Athletics organization. There was also just plain old confusion over what was so wrong.
But Outman slowly found his form. His final regular-season start for Tulsa was nearly a no-hitter, and he finished the Drillers' campaign 2-5 with a 3.71 ERA. Outman also threw seven scoreless innings, allowing only two hits in a playoff victory. As a result, the Rockies recalled Outman for bullpen work over the final weeks of the season.
"It took an adjustment emotionally," said Outman, 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA in 15 games, including seven starts, with the Rockies before being sent to Tulsa. "You don't have the crowds down there. I had to get the right frame of mind to go out and compete. I wanted to go out and win, but I also wanted to make sure I was fixing the things I needed to fix and not lose sight of my main purpose for me being there"
Outman said he and Tulsa pitching coach Dave Schuler figured that his hands were breaking late, which caused him to speed up his delivery. Once that problem was corrected, Outman was on his way back. He originally believed he'd be brought to Triple-A after the All-Star break, but it dawned on him it didn't matter where he was pitching as long as he corrected his flaws.
Manager Jim Tracy said he'd like to see Outman in a left-on-left relief role.
"The opportunity to compare and contrast where he was with where he's at right now is very intriguing to me," Tracy said.
Trained as a starter, Outman struggled in bullpen duty when he was in the Majors. But he has learned that any big league role would be good in the future.
"I know I'm going to come in next spring in shape and ready as a starter, and if that's where I start, great," Outman said. "But if I end up a somewhere else, I just want to do what's best for myself and the team together. Whatever the role is, I just want to be fully on board with it, and make sure it's the best thing for myself and the organization."