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Corpas settling into role

Corpas settling into role

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DENVER -- Right-hander Manny Corpas used to throw the biggest relief innings for the Rockies, when he served as closer for much of 2007 and '08. That was before elbow problems derailed his career.

Back with the Rockies after suffering an elbow injury in 2010, missing '11 and pitching for the Cubs last season, Corpas is pitching different innings, but they are important ones.

Corpas is one of the relievers the Rockies go to when the starter reaches the team's prescribed limit of 100 pitches. It can be a pressure-packed role. Most of the Rockies starters are pitching well these days, and the club can't afford a dropoff between the middle-innings reliever and the back of the bullpen.

Thus far, Corpas (0-2, 4.03 ERA) has made 12 of his 13 appearances in losses. Just once has he pitched with a lead and two other times he was on the mound with the score tied. But, generally, the scores are close, and Corpas is happy.

Corpas replaced Drew Pomeranz on Monday with two on and one out in the fifth inning of a 3-1 loss, immediately forced a double-play grounder and went on to throw 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

"The last couple of games have gone well," Corpas said. "The thing I'm trying to do is stay relaxed. I'm keeping the ball down and hitting the glove the way I did in Colorado Springs [when he started the season in Triple-A]. When I first came up here, I was hoping to have a big year and trying to do too much. Now, I'm trying to control myself and do my job."

Corpas, 31, said he approaches his inning -- often the sixth -- the way he did the ninth in '07, when he pitched for the Rockies in the World Series.

"What I say all the time is this is baseball, and you never know," Corpas said. "Every year is different. I'm coming in behind the starting guy, and if we're losing the game I have to be a two- or three-inning guy. But that doesn't make a difference. I can still help the team."

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.

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