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Monitoring hitters, Rockies more likely to add to 'pen

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- While the Rockies continue to monitor free-agent hitters such as Michael Morse, who could provide corner power, and Michael Young, more in a veteran utility role, they are more inclined to put resources into late bullpen help.

An attempt to acquire the Reds' Sean Marshall was iced because of concerns about his left shoulder, and on Wednesday it appeared Jose Veras was moving toward a deal with the Astros and righty Joaquin Benoit had priced himself beyond the Rockies' comfort zone. But lefty J.P. Howell was a target, along with Oliver Perez and Scott Downs, the Denver Post reported.

The search for someone to join righty LaTroy Hawkins and lefty Rex Brothers could continue beyond Wednesday's conclusion of the Winter Meetings.

"In general terms, we feel like it would be really good for us to be pitching really well -- we definitely feel like we got stronger out of the rotation and want to get stronger out of the bullpen," Colorado's senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett said without discussing any specific pursuit. "When you really dig into the wins and losses, and the clubs that win the most, they tend to be pitching-dominant types of clubs."

If the Rockies land a lefty, it could increase manager Walt Weiss' strategic options. He would have the option to use Hawkins, signed to close, earlier on some occasions and have Brothers pitch the end of the game. But Geivett noted that pitchers depend on having a routine, and for that reason the Rockies would have difficulty deviating from the plan they take into the season.

"It's very difficult for those guys who rely on that consistency in role to perform at their best level," Geivett said.

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