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Boggs gets fresh start in Colorado

DENVER -- Less than a year ago, Mitchell Boggs was a critical piece of a Cardinals team that made it to the National League National League Championship series.

He was a seventh- and eighth-inning specialist, allowing just two earned runs in nine postseason appearances. But much can change in a single offseason.

St. Louis tried to turn Boggs into a closer and he tried to tailor his pitches to that role, a change that proved to be his downfall.

"I tried to do more than what I needed to do," Boggs said. "Tried to make perfect pitches, which ultimately leads to you nibbling the strike zone and falling behind. Instead of being the aggressive guy that had made me successful, I was trying to be perfect and hit corners and make perfect pitches instead of letting my stuff take over and being aggressive. That's a bad place to be, being a pitcher."

Two months into this season, he was in Memphis playing for the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate, an 11.05 ERA in 14 2/3 innings forcing him off St. Louis' 40-man roster. Boggs admits his confidence took a serious hit, saying he "would be ignorant not to accept that."

Boggs landed in Colorado July 9 after the Cardinals traded him for an international signing bonus slot and welcomed the opportunity to restart with a new club.

A big part of Boggs returning to old form was realizing he's a ground-ball pitcher, an approach perfect for Coors Field, where the ball loves to fly. Boggs' overall numbers in Triple-A Colorado Springs were far from eye-popping -- he had an 8.27 ERA in 12 appearances.

But the righty said he started to find a groove with Colorado Springs, throwing 8 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run before he gave up three earned runs on Tuesday.

"I think for me, the key is just consistency and commanding the strike zone, being aggressive and getting ground balls," he said. "That's what I've done in the past, that's what I haven't done this year and I feel like if I'm going to get back to being the guy that I was, that's what I'm going to have to do."

After a brief stay with the Rockies in late July, Boggs earned a callup Tuesday. He's trying to backtrack, to relearn his old habits and prove he's not simply a one-hit wonder.

"I'm excited about this month and I realize I've got a great opportunity here and want to take advantage of it," Boggs said. "Just show them I'm capable of being as good as anybody in this league when I'm right."

Ian McCue is an associate reporter for
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