Rockies pick up option on veteran closer Hawkins

Rockies pick up option on veteran closer Hawkins

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DENVER -- The Rockies made the expected move Friday by exercising their $2.25 million option for 2015 for right-handed closer LaTroy Hawkins, who reached his 1,000th career appearance this past season and continued to pitch effectively.

Hawkins, who will turn 42 on Dec. 21, converted 23 of 26 save chances and went 4-3 with a 3.31 ERA in 57 appearances in his 20th season in the Majors -- his 13th season of at least 50 appearances. Hawkins' fastball, at an average of 93.1 mph, was slightly speedier than in recent years, and he struck out 32 against 13 walks in 54 1/3 innings.

Hawkins shuts the door

Hawkins was one of two major option decisions facing the Rockies. The club also must decide on a $12 million option for left-handed starter Brett Anderson, who went 1-3 with a 2.91 ERA in eight starts during a 2014 season affected by a broken left index finger and a back injury that required season-ending surgery.

Colorado signed Hawkins last winter in the hopes his versatility and experience could help stabilize the bullpen. The belief was Hawkins would hold the closer's role until someone with more upside -- lefty Rex Brothers was the chosen one -- could take the ninth inning and slide Hawkins into the eighth. Hawkins couldn't do much about the load the bullpen took because of a starting rotation destabilized by injury or Brothers' rough year, but the veteran performed well enough to handle the closer's role throughout.

This is the second go-round with the Rockies for Hawkins, who threw for the 2007 team that advanced to the World Series. Hawkins' 1,000 appearances, with 10 clubs, are good for 16th on the all-time list, and the total is by far the most of any active pitcher.

If Hawkins' 2014 work rate is similar next season, Hawkins has a shot to surpass Kent Tekulve, who is ninth with 1,050 games, and Mike Timlin, who's eighth with 1,058.

In other news Friday, Colorado outrighted first baseman-outfielder-catcher Matt McBride off the 40-man Major League roster. McBride appeared in a total of 52 games for the Rockies in 2012 and '14, batting .211 with four home runs and 17 RBIs. McBride originally came to Colorado in the deal that sent onetime Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians. McBride was the last remaining player from the trade.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.