Lannan brings simple plan to Rox camp: 'Throwing strikes'

Lefty recaptures love of game with stint in Dominican Republic

Lannan brings simple plan to Rox camp: 'Throwing strikes'

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Rockies lefty John Lannan on Saturday pitched with joy and effectiveness. They go hand in hand.

Lannan, a non-roster invitee, threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts against two hits and a walkThanks vs. the Reds. The Rockies already have five projected starters. But Lannan and a pair of righties -- David Hale and fellow non-roster hopeful Brett Marshall -- are among starters the Rockies can turn to in case of an injury to any the top five, especially if they want to give prospects Jon Gray and Eddie Butler development time.

The Rockies have flexibility with Lannan because, if activated to the Major League roster, he will still have Minor League options and can be sent down without exposed to other clubs through waivers.

Lannan, 30, has pitched for the Nationals (2007-12), Phillies (2013) and Mets (2014), but also has spent time in the Minors under odd circumstances. For example, in 2012 he made just six starts for the Nats because the staff was unusually healthy. Last year, he tried to come back too soon from a left knee injury, spent most of the year in the Minors and made just three Major League appearances (1-0, 15.75 ERA).

The knee healed by season's end, so Lannan pitched for Licey in the Dominican Republic (4-3, 3.78 ERA in 10 starts), and reported to Spring Training feeling better prepared in many ways.

"It was a great experience, not just on the field but off the field," Lannan said. "I was able to embrace the culture, see the beautiful country that the Dominican Republic is. It opened my eyes to a lot to the player that I can be, and helped me capture the love of the game again."

Lannan said he realizes the numbers work against him, but he refuses to fret.

"2012 really prepared me for a lot of different things," Lannan said. "The only things I can control are my pitches. What I can't control is if I make the team or not. I'm not going to lie, in the past I've always tried to figure out if I was going to make the team or not. But it's a waste of time. No matter where you pitch, you've still got to throw strikes -- here, D.R., big leagues, Triple-A.

"I don't know where I'm going to be, but I plan on throwing strikes."

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.