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Boggs has shaky debut in second chance with Rockies

DENVER -- When right-handed reliever Mitchell Boggs lost his effectiveness early this season with the Cardinals and found himself in the Minors, he had no idea where he'd be when he'd have a chance to redeem himself.

Boggs is getting a second chance with the Rockies, who acquired him in a trade for an international signing bonus slot on July 9. Boggs was pitching at Triple-A Memphis at the time of the trade. The Rockies sent him to Double-A Tulsa, where he gave up one run in four games and struck out three in six innings.

The Rockies called Boggs up Saturday to fill the roster spot of closer Rafael Betancourt, who went on the disabled list after undergoing an appendectomy. Boggs had an uneven, but scoreless, Rockies debut in a 9-3 victory against the Cubs. He gave up a double, hit a batter and walked one to load the bases with two out before inducing Starlin Castro into a forceout.

Boggs hopes to pitch more like he did last year, when he went 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA in a career-high 78 games. He briefly filled the Cardinals' closer role earlier this season, but went 0-3 with two saves in five chances. He had an 11.05 ERA in 18 games before the demotion to Memphis.

"This team is 4 1/2 games out [in the National League West] and that's right in the mix," Boggs said before Saturday's game against the Cubs. "I was part of a team in 2011 that was 10 1/2 games back with five weeks to play, and we were World Series champions at the end of it. I know how quickly a team can go on a run and put themselves right in the mix.

"The question you have to answer is: Are you good enough? When you look at this team, that's an easy question to answer. It's yes, with this lineup and the pitching that's here. We're certainly capable of pitching with anybody."

Boggs blew his first save chance with St. Louis, then gave up seven runs (six earned) two games later, taking the loss in a 13-4 game that was tied when he entered.

"The failure that I had earlier in the season, you look for answers in every direction," Boggs said. "I started worrying about mechanical things that weren't helping me. I was making an adjustment here, making an adjustment with my arm. The adjustment should have been with the mental approach: Be aggressive. Over the last three weeks, that's the direction that I've taken."

Boggs said he began feeling better in Memphis just before the trade. Upon joining the Rockies, he worked with Tulsa pitching coach Darryl Scott on keeping his fingers on top of the ball, instead of to the side, on his sinker.

"Once I got traded, I could stop worrying about what was going to happen and start focusing on getting back to being the pitcher that I'm capable of being, going to Tulsa and having a few outings to prove that," Boggs said. "It's starting to feel like it's there. I've got to continue to work every single day."

Rockies manager Walt Weiss said he didn't want to use Boggs because he threw an inning Friday for Tulsa, but thought he'd let him debut with a big lead.

"I'm glad we got to do that," Weiss said. "We saw a good, heavy, sinking fastball with power and a nice slider."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.
Read More: Colorado Rockies, Mitchell Boggs