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Rockies sign lefty Logan to three-year deal

Relief pitcher has appeared in at least 50 games in six of past seven seasons

DENVER -- The Rockies' offer of an expanded role caught the attention of left-handed relief pitcher Boone Logan, whose three-year, $16.5 million contract became official on Monday.

Logan, 29, who uses his fastball and slider with power, has appeared in 50 or more games in six of the last seven seasons, usually as a specialist against left-handed batters. But Rockies manager Walt Weiss wanted a power left-hander in more of a traditional setup role, meaning he would pitch full innings even if it means facing right-handers. The Rockies also signed righty LaTroy Hawkins as closer, but have Rex Brothers to work in setup and close on occasion. It means three power arms for the late innings.

Logan, who spent the last four seasons with the Yankees, jumped at the opportunity. He will receive salaries of $4.75 million in 2014, $5.5 million in 2015 and $6.25 million in 2016.

"It's something that I think I've always felt I could do," Logan said on a conference call from his ranch in Laredo, Texas. "I've never been on a team to have a chance to do that. We've always been filled up with successful setup guys and closers. I knew in New York there was never going to be that opportunity, but I did whatever the team wanted me to do, whatever Joe [Girardi, the manager] wanted me to in whatever situation he put me in.

"I had a good time there in New York, but I'm even more excited about coming to Colorado, helping the team out, being out of New York and maybe getting a setup role."

The Rockies' bullpen now features three hard-throwing left-handers in Brothers, Logan and Josh Outman, who also brings a power fastball and slider that can be put to use in the middle innings. Last season, Outman held left-handed hitters to a .198 batting average, and just six of 34 inherited runners scored -- numbers that point to Outman being effective in a specialist role.

Adding Logan also pushes right-handers Matt Belisle and Wilton Lopez into the seventh inning or earlier. Belisle and Lopez each made more than 70 appearances with mixed results in 2013, but are expected to be big parts of the Rockies' bullpen, as is righty Adam Ottavino, who slid to a late-inning role last season with results that left the Rockies encouraged. The bullpen could also be strengthened if the Rockies see development out of righties Rob Scahill and Chad Bettis, who saw action last season as rookies.

The Rockies are counting on a full and healthy season from Logan.

Last season, Logan went 5-2 with a 3.23 ERA in 61 games before missing much of September with an elbow issue. Logan underwent surgery to remove a bone chip and shave down a bone spur. He said he has his range of motion and has started playing catch, and he's optimistic, even if part of Spring Training will be devoted to making sure his arm is in shape.

Logan is 24-12 with a 4.39 ERA in the Majors while playing with the White Sox (2006-08), Braves (2009) and Yankees (2010-13), and has struck out 9.0 batters against 3.9 walks per nine innings in 420 appearances covering 303 2/3 innings.

He comes to Denver with no fear of the altitude and the way the ball tends to carry at Coors Field.

"It doesn't matter to me, because I pitched at Yankee Stadium, and it's got that short porch in right field -- same difference to me," Logan said. "I don't care where it's at as far as pitching. I'm getting the chance to possibly have my own inning late in the game. That's something that the Rockies are going to give me a chance to do. That was appealing to me."

To make room for Logan on their 40-man Major League roster, the Rockies designated right-hander Collin McHugh for assignment. McHugh, 26, made seven appearances and five starts (0-4, 10.04 ERA) for the Mets and Rockies last season. The Rockies acquired him for outfielder Eric Young Jr. last season.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.

Colorado Rockies, Boone Logan