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Focused Bergman earns long-awaited callup

Focused Bergman earns long-awaited callup

DENVER -- The Rockies didn't give right-handed pitcher Christian Bergman the carrot or the stick as he progressed through the Minor League system.

Being a 24th-round pick in the 2010 Draft, Bergman didn't receive the prospect love from outside the organization, or the pressure from inside it. He just pitched and steadily moved ahead when the time came.

"It was hard from the very beginning," Bergman said. "Sometimes felt like I didn't quite get the attention that maybe I thought I should. But a lot of people drafted before me might think the same thing. I tried to just put that out of my mind and focus on the job at hand. I set a goal for each season and try to attain that goal, keep improving year after year.

"I wouldn't say there was definitely a point where they said I'm on the right track, which might've helped in a way, because that bit of uncertainty probably made me a little more driven."

Now Bergman, 26, who pitched four seasons at Cal-Irvine, is every bit as important as Eddie Butler, the 2012 supplemental first-round pick who made his debut on Friday. Bergman, who has been summoned from Triple-A Colorado Springs and will be added to the Rockies' roster to start Monday night against the Braves at Coors field, had the same introductory news conference on Sunday that Butler did before his first start.

The difference was when Bergman met reporters in the clubhouse, he politely said, "Pleased to meet you." Butler, with plenty of prospect hype, already knew everyone. But there's a good reason people now want to know Bergman.

At Colorado Springs, Bergman was 4-4 with a 3.84 ERA. More impressive was his performance at Security Service Field -- 6,531 feet, or more than 1,000 feet higher than Coors Field -- he went 1-0 with a 2.04 ERA in four starts. Bergman doesn't have top-shelf velocity, but he relies on location and know-how.

"Part of it is knowing who I am as a pitcher and going with my strengths," Bergman said. "Part of it is not being intimidated by the fact that it's 6,000 feet or whatever it is. There are some things that are different about it, but for me it's about making adjustments and turning things that are a little different into strengths for me.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. 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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