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Familiarity, pressure accompany Ottavino in NYC

NEW YORK -- Whenever Adam Ottavino steps on the mound at Citi Field, there's a bit of added pressure on the Rockies pitcher. His family and friends from home don't have the chance to watch him in person too often. Ottavino doesn't want to let them down.

Colorado's trip to New York gave Ottavino the chance to sleep in his own bed, in his own apartment in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, the same area where he grew up. It's a good opportunity to take advantage of some familiarity during an arduous baseball season, but there's a flipside to the situation as well.

"Part of it is also, I really want to do good when I'm here," Ottavino said. "My parents and friends are at the game, so I don't want to go out there and embarrass myself."

Ottavino pitched a hitless inning in Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Mets. He finished the frame with one walk and one strikeout. Ottavino said he left about six or seven tickets for family and friends, but there were about another 20 who came on their own.

After pitching at Berkeley Carroll High School in Brooklyn -- where he averaged 17 strikeouts per game his junior and senior seasons -- and Northeastern University in Boston, Ottavino was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Ottavino has a 3.12 ERA in 33 games this season for the Rockies. He went 5-1 with a 4.56 ERA in 53 games last season.

The 27-year-old pitched at Citi Field last season, and that's when the bizarre feeling of pitching on a Major League mound in the city where he grew up settled in.

Still, it makes this road trip slightly more special.

"This year I don't feel any different pitching here, I guess," Ottavino said. "But there's something cool about it, obviously."

Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for
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