SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – After a whirlwind 2011 season, Colorado Rockies left-hander Drew Pomeranz hopes to pitch more like his old self in 2012.
Acquired from the Cleveland Indians in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade last July, Pomeranz is aiming to cement a spot in the Rockies rotation out of spring training. He made four starts with the Rockies last season without his best stuff.
Pomeranz said his fastball velocity was down from around 95 mph to around 88-91 mph late in the season. He had to wait two weeks after the trade to join the Rockies. Then he missed time after undergoing an emergency appendectomy in August.
“I really wasn’t myself because of the whole end of the season,” Pomeranz said. “My fastball was down a little bit. I kind of wasn’t in rhythm with myself because I hadn’t thrown very much.”
Pomeranz went 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA with the Rockies in his first stint in the major leagues.
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Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca thought Pomeranz was overpowering when he pitched against Colorado last spring training. After he joined the Rockies, Pomeranz found a way to adjust when his velocity dipped.
“He didn’t feel like his fastball had the life he had earlier in the season,” Apodaca said. “But I saw a different side, a different way of competing, so he wasn’t solely dependent on power. He really did it with the ability to locate his fastball and with his change-up. His curveball was pretty inconsistent.
“I saw a workman-like job of pitching. He’s still scratching the surface as far as knowledge, what he needs to do. (He’s) somebody who really has mound presence about him.”
Pomeranz was the player to be named later in the July 30 trade that sent ace Jimenez to the Indians. The Rockies also received three other minor leaguers: right-handers Alex White and Joe Gardner and utility player Matt McBride.
Before the trade, Pomeranz had gone 3-2 with a 1.87 ERA in 15 starts at Class-A Kinston and 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA in three games with Double-A Akron. Cleveland drafted Pomeranz fifth overall in 2010 out of the University of Mississippi.
Since no drafted player can be traded until one year after his signing, and Pomeranz signed with the Indians on Aug. 16, 2010, he had to wait to join the Rockies after the trade last July. He spent the two weeks working out, throwing bullpens and playing in simulated games with rehabbing and rookie-level players at the Indians complex in Goodyear, Ariz.
“It was boring,” he said. “I had nothing to do, go to the field, go throw and run and maybe work out.”
After the waiting period, Pomeranz headed to the Rockies’ Double-A team in Tulsa. However, just three days after his debut with the Rockies organization, he underwent an emergency appendectomy on Aug. 20.
“I was kind of freaking out a little bit because I didn’t want my season to be over,” he said. “I guess initially I thought it was going to be over, too. But a day or two after the surgery, I felt fine, so I knew I would be all right.”
Now in his first spring training with Colorado, Pomeranz is in a different situation than a year ago. He said the Indians told him he wasn’t competing for a spot.
“I was like, ‘Oh really, I’m not?’ And I went out and I didn’t give up a hit the whole big-league camp because they kind of fired me up a little bit,” he said.
Apodaca said Pomeranz arrived in camp leaner and stronger. He could possibly start in the rotation behind Jeremy Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin.
“My goal’s obviously to break camp in the rotation and stay there and have a great year,” Pomeranz said. “I guess that’s anyone’s goal, but I’m excited to get out there and start competing against some other people.”
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