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Ottavino back, ready to lock down late innings

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

PHILADELPHIA -- The Rockies activated right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino from the disabled list before Thursday's 9-3 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, and manager Bud Black said Ottavino would go right back into his late-game role.

Ottavino had a 0.95 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings before going to the DL with a left oblique injury. His absence weakened the bullpen, and the team went 5-9 without him.

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PHILADELPHIA -- The Rockies activated right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino from the disabled list before Thursday's 9-3 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, and manager Bud Black said Ottavino would go right back into his late-game role.

Ottavino had a 0.95 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings before going to the DL with a left oblique injury. His absence weakened the bullpen, and the team went 5-9 without him.

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"We talked about that, and 'Otto' feels -- where he is physically and mentally -- that he wants to jump right back into the mix of pitching deep in the game," Black said. "He's ready for that. He doesn't necessarily want to ease back in."

This year represents a turnaround from 2017, when Ottavino -- previously one of the most effective late-game relievers -- went 2-3 with a 5.06 ERA and saw a disturbing rise in walks (39 in 53 1/3 innings). Black lauded Ottavino for his detailed offseason work.

"Physically, [Ottavino] made it a point of emphasis to get his body in the best shape possible," Black said. "The year before, it wasn't the case. It wasn't that he slacked, but this year he was adamant about being in the best physical shape.

"On the mechanics side, [Ottavino] went up to Driveline [performance facility] up in Seattle. He bought his own cameras. He was really studious with what the Driveline people did and what he did on his own -- release point, spin rate, finger pressure. All these things that he wanted to identify to build his own personal library of information. When he started to get ready for Spring Training, he put these into motion."

The Rockies optioned lefty reliever Jerry Vasto, who appeared in one game and gave up three runs in 2/3 of an inning, to Triple-A Albuquerque to clear a roster spot for Ottavino.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Adam Ottavino