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Rockies shift Senzatela to bullpen

Special to MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rookie Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela made his first Major League relief appearance in Monday's 9-2 loss to the Giants at AT&T Park. Senzatela, who has made 15 starts for Colorado this season, will be moved to the bullpen for the foreseeable future as the organization hopes to monitor his innings.

On Monday, he entered to begin the fifth inning after starter German Marquez was tagged for five runs on seven hits and two walks. Senzatela tossed two scoreless and hitless frames, walking one while striking out two.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Rookie Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela made his first Major League relief appearance in Monday's 9-2 loss to the Giants at AT&T Park. Senzatela, who has made 15 starts for Colorado this season, will be moved to the bullpen for the foreseeable future as the organization hopes to monitor his innings.

On Monday, he entered to begin the fifth inning after starter German Marquez was tagged for five runs on seven hits and two walks. Senzatela tossed two scoreless and hitless frames, walking one while striking out two.

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"We view him long term as a starter, for sure, but it was nice to see him come in and throw strikes," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He put up two zeros for us."

Senzatela admitted it felt a bit strange to be warming up in the middle of the game, as it marked just his second professional outing as a reliever, and the first since Rookie-level ball in 2012.

"It's not normal for me because I always was starting," Senzatela said. "I just tried to keep it simple, warm up good and be ready for the game. ... I just need to do my job every time out there. Starter or reliever, I have to compete hard to help the team to win. I'll do whatever they want."

Senzatela has already logged 90 1/3 innings this season after missing most of 2016 due to right shoulder inflammation issues. His career high is 154 innings, coming in 2015 for Class A Modesto.

Though he said he feels fine physically, Senzatela said he has no problems with the organization pushing him to the bullpen. Black said he envisions Senzatela (9-3, 4.68 ERA) working either in situational relief or a long-man role, but he expects the right-hander to return to the rotation at some point this year.

The 22-year-old ranks tied for second among National League pitchers with nine wins, but has been getting knocked around recently. In his past five starts, Senzatela is 2-2 with an 8.54 ERA and has given up eight home runs.

Coupled with the additions of Chad Qualls and Jairo Diaz to the bullpen Monday, Colorado now features 10 relievers. But it appears a roster move is on the horizon with the impending return of Opening Day starter Jon Gray this weekend against Arizona.

"We'll see how how this all maps out," Black said. "This truly is a situation where, because of the moving parts in our bullpen and guys going on the [disabled list], it's a pretty fluid situation of our roster."

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Rockies on Monday.

Colorado Rockies, Antonio Senzatela