Rockies' closer role to evolve with Hawkins at helm

Weiss preps for reinforcements to give 42-year-old help when needed

Rockies' closer role to evolve with Hawkins at helm

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Having the oldest player in baseball as the bullpen's closer makes the Rockies notable, but manager Walt Weiss believes it's smart to be ready to help 42-year-old LaTroy Hawkiins if fatigue is an issue.

Hawkins' right arm is resilient but he admits his body doesn't recover as well these days. Weiss said he will have others available when Hawkins needs a break.

Last season, the Rockies won just 66 games and at times went long stretches without leads to protect. But among his 57 appearances last season, Hawkins had solid numbers given the lack of consistent save opportunities -- a 1.59 ERA in converted saves, 3.51 overall in save situations. But if the Rockies increase Hawkins' number of save chances -- especially in tough situations -- it could take its toll.

Oldest players in Spring Training
Player/team Age
LaTroy Hawkins, Rockies 42
Bartolo Colon, Mets   41
Ichiro Suzuki, Marlins   41
*Mark Hendrickson, Orioles 40
R.A. Dickey, Blue Jays   40
Joe Nathan, Tigers   40
*Jamey Wright, Rangers   40
Koji Uehara, Red Sox   39
*Rafael Betancourt, Rockies 39
*Non-roster invitees

"Are we going to need other guys to finish games at times? Yes, we will," Weiss said. "But he's the guy."

The Rockies have three former closers in camp -- lefty Rex Brothers, who secured the role for most of 2013, and right-handed non-roster invitees John Axford and Rafael Betancourt. Against the right-handed part of a lineup, righty setup man Adam Ottavino is also an option.

Weiss said the identities of closer options will evolve.

"It helps to have guys in the bullpen that have closed games before because there's a different mindset, but I feel like we have options and it doesn't have to be a veteran guy," Weiss said. "We have enough guys with stuff and presence."

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.