Ottavino isn't fazed by usual spring struggles

March 26th, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies relief pitcher comes to the desert each year to empty the walks from his arm.

Ottavino has walked a career-high seven this spring, against 10 strikeouts. It's a strikeout-to-walk rate that won't be acceptable during the regular season. But given the right-hander's history, performance in the Cactus League isn't a reason for grave concern.

"If you look at my statistics for my career, I have an embarrassing amount of walks in Spring Training," Ottavino said. "But my command has been good in the season. But a lot of that is focus, and Spring Training is to figure out your timing.

"My delivery is not the most simple thing in the world. It takes a while to figure it out."

Since 2013, his first Rockies Spring Training, Ottavino has walked six once and five another time, and he has 44 strikeouts to 22 walks, or one every two strikeouts. But in five regular seasons with the Rockies, his walk rate is one every 3.92 strikeouts. Last year, even though he was rusty from not pitching for 14 months because of Tommy John surgery, Ottavino struck out five for every walk.

Ottavino admits the layoff has made it a little harder to find his delivery. But he doesn't doubt he will do so.

Ottavino's fastball hasn't been sharp. Although he dipped to 91 mph in a rough outing against the Indians on Thursday, he has been in the 93-95 range this spring, so the velocity is there.

"You work on all your pitches," Ottavino said. "I have four pitches. I try to make sure I'm throwing them the way I want and they're doing what I want them to do when we leave camp. That way I can execute during the season.

"Then there are little things you don't think about during the season but Spring Training wakes you up to them -- like holding runners and being quick to the plate with guys on and fielding your position. That's all part of mental training.

"Every year is a new year; you have to re-learn everything when you come to camp, that's just the nature of baseball. Of course, when you've had some success then you have confidence that you'll do it, but it's still a process."