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Torrealba a steadying force behind the dish

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The first time Rockies veteran catcher Yorvit Torrealba worked with talented-but-developing left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz, he delivered a reassuring message.

Pomeranz was pitching against Team USA last Friday when a pitch nearly sailed to the backstop.

"I threw a fastball up to David Wright and I said, 'Man, I almost threw it over your head,'" Pomeranz said. "He said, 'That's OK. I miss it, I go get it.' My last outing was the first time I've thrown to him. I hadn't thrown a bullpen or anything to him. He's great."

Pomeranz threw to Torrealba again on Monday, when he gave up two runs and four hits and struck out three in a 3-1 loss to the White Sox. Torrealba was there with advice as Pomeranz worked through minor delivery issues out of the stretch, and his presence was part of the reason Pomeranz's confidence ticked up a notch.

Torrealba, 34, is hoping to be a key mentor to young Rockies pitchers, the way he was during his first tour with the team (2006-09) -- a stint that included two of the three playoff appearances in club history. Many in the club and outside have theorized that the Rockies missed Torrealba's presence after he left as free agent -- and helped the Padres to contention one year and the Rangers to a World Series appearance.

Torrealba also hit his first home run of the spring, a drive to left off electric White Sox left-hander Chris Sale, and possibly saved Pomeranz some damage by picking Jordan Danks off third base in the third inning.

If Torrealba, who played for the Rangers and the Blue Jays last season, provides what the Rockies think he can, he will force the club into a decision. The team has second-year slugger Wilin Rosario as the primary catcher, and is paying veteran Ramon Hernandez $3.2 million. In addition, utility man Jordan Pacheco has impressed the Rockies with his receiving ability.

The club could look to move Hernandez in a trade, although it might involve eating some of the salary.

Torrealba is concentrating on his day-to-day work. To help Pomeranz along, he called Monday's game as if it were a regular-season contest. He realized that Pomeranz's secondary pitches need work, but it was hard to go away from a 95 mph fastball when White Sox hitters were having trouble catching up to it.

"Especially today, I knew he was going to go four, maybe five, I wanted to help him as much as I could," Torrealba said.

The Rockies are looking for aggressiveness, which fits Torrealba's defensive personality. He didn't hesitate before picking off Danks.

"This is Spring Training," Torrealba said. "The skipper gives you enough confidence. Go out there, have fun, try to do your job, throw the ball around and if you mess it up, you mess it up. At the same time, we're trying to send a message. 'Hey, this guy likes to throw behind runners. Keep those runners on a short leash.'"

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }