Bud Black plans to be hands-on with pitchers, excited about young arms

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Since their inception in 1993, pitching has always seemingly been an issue for the Colorado Rockies. Now, as the 2017 season gets underway, there will not only have pitchers on the mound and in the bullpen, but they will have a pitcher calling the shots as well.

Rockies manager Bud Black joined Les Shapiro of Afternoon Drive on Mile High Sports Radio, letting him know that he plans to be very involved with the team’s pitchers.

“I’ve got a great deal of respect and admiration for the coaching ability of [bullpen coach] Darren [Holmes] and [pitching coach] Steve [Foster], and I empower those guys to coach, but the pitching side is how I see the game,” Black said. “I sort of lay off the technical stuff, the mechanics and those types of things, when those guys are in the bullpen working on things. Even a little bit of the advance scouting, pitch selection and so forth. I’ll let our advanced scouts and ‘Homie’ and ‘Fostie’ handle that; but I’ll dig in a little bit on the mental side and some of the fundamental pitching principals that I think are important to our guys.

Black pitched in the Majors for 15 years. This is his 10th campaign as a manager. He also has six seasons of experience as a pitching coach. He is confident that he, Holmes and Foster will be able to turn around the team’s fortunes on the mound.

“It’s what I know best,” Black said. “My relationship with the pitchers will continue to be one of involvement. That’s what I enjoy most: the teaching aspect. I think between the three of us, we’ll get a handle on this pitching.”

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a quick fix. Especially with such young, inexperienced arms in the rotation, Black understands there may be some growing pains; but he thinks his players have the right attitude.

“You cannot imitate big league atmosphere, big league game-like conditions in the minor leagues, you just can’t do it,” he said. “The thing I like about our young players, whether it’s Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Antonio Senzatela, Tyler Anderson, Jon Gray even—a year and a half in the Major Leagues, not a great deal of service time for Jon—, these guys are competitors. They’ve got big hearts, they compete, they don’t scare off, they’ve got good stuff.

“Are they battle tested in the big leagues? No. That’s only going to happen over time. And we’re going to have to be right there with them going through the growing pains of becoming a solid Major League starting pitcher. We feel good about who they are.”

The Rockies also have some youth in the bullpen, but thanks to a pair of free agent signings in Greg Holland and Mike Dunn, they also have some seasoned veterans that Black hopes can help not only on the mound, but in the clubhouse as well.

“I mean, this guy [Holland] is a two-time All-Star, has pitched in [the] playoffs, has pitched in [the] World Series. This guy has been through it, and he’s got a mental toughness to him that will rub off on our players,” he said. “Him and Mike Dunn have been great additions to our bullpen, first and foremost in their ability, but also in who they are in teammates and as men.”

Listen to the full interview with Bud Black, including how he thinks his team will deal with all of their injuries and what he’s looking forward to most about coaching in Colorado, in the podcast below.

Catch Afternoon Drive with Goodman and Shapiro every weekday from 4p-6p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.

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