Power arms Diaz, Rondon have chance to impress Rox

Power arms Diaz, Rondon have chance to impress Rox

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Jairo Diaz was so shocked at being called up to the Angels from Double-A last September, "I cried." As for righty Jorge Rondon, he struck out 51 in 62 1/3 innings at Triple-A, but the Cardinals called him up for all of one game -- a crying shame. But both are all smiles in Rockies camp.

Looking to add power to the back of the bullpen, the Rockies traded infielder Josh Rutledge to the Angels for Diaz, and claimed Rondon off waivers. With Diaz, 23, having been clocked as high as 103 mph and capable of a consistent 98 mph in a given outing, and Rondon, 27, able to throw consistently 96 or above, they might be able to earn places in the Rockies' bullpen.

Manager Walt Weiss and general manager Jeff Bridich established a plan to go after power at the back of the bullpen, but that wasn't all the Rockies wanted. Both come with sliders, and the possibility to develop changeups.

Also, both have Minor League options, meaning they can be developed if they aren't immediately ready. Diaz, a former catcher who still looks like one at 6-foot and 248 pounds, was in the Majors in September to spell some of the relievers on an Angels team that was playoff-bound. Rondon couldn't crack a deep Cards staff and is getting a fresh start.

Rondon makes big league debut

"We felt like either they have or will have multiple 'plus' [above-average] pitches," Bridich said. "Power can be a great bat-misser, can lead to a lot of strikeouts, but it also can't be the only thing."

What Weiss doesn't need to see is how hard they can throw, especially early in camp, since he already knows that.

"The way to make an impression around here is by showing the ability to control your mind, command your surroundings, command the game once we start playing games," Weiss said. "We know what they are physically."

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.