'Boring' Bergman pitching well without fanfare

Right-hander quietly goes about business on hill

'Boring' Bergman pitching well without fanfare

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-hander Christian Bergman doesn't excite folks in concept -- a 24th-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft (2010) is never big news -- and he's not exciting to the eye, either.

"Someone told me it looks like I'm asleep out there, that it's boring to watch me pitch," Bergman said Tuesday afternoon, after he demonstrated that sometimes it's good to zap the excitement right out of a game.

Bergman entered in the sixth inning of what had been a wild game with the White Sox and pitched four scoreless innings, with two hits and one strikeout, as the Rockies won, 7-6. Bergman was at his best in the eighth. Melky Cabrera led off with a double, then didn't move as Bergman silenced the rest of the inning.

With Rockies top starter Jorge De La Rosa looking as if he'll miss early regular-season starts with left groin tightness and the club releasing veteran starter Jhoulys Chacin, eyes turned primarily to righties Jon Gray and Eddie Butler, two of the Majors' top prospects. Other candidates have higher profiles.

Righty David Hale, obtained from the Braves in a trade, is a candidate, but he is nursing an oblique strain, according to the Denver Post. Righty Chad Bettis, a one-time second-round pick, was sent to Minor League camp on Sunday, but he'll pitch for the Rockies on Thursday and could put himself back in the race. Non-roster lefty John Lannan is in Minor League camp, but he has appeared in the Majors each of the last eight seasons.

Bergman sits down Ruggiano

Then there's Bergman.

After simply impressing at every level, Bergman, who turns 27 on May 4, earned 10 Major League starts last season (3-5, 5.93 ERA), and followed up with a stint in the Arizona Fall League to sharpen his secondary pitches.

Tuesday's work left him with a 2.31 ERA in four Cactus League appearances.

"Real good command, that's what he does -- both sides of the plate, he can add and subtract [velocity]," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's got a great feel."

Bergman has lockered beside projected Opening Day starter Kyle Kendrick throughout the spring. Before meeting Kendrick, Bergman studied his starts because he has a similar pitch mix, and can escape jams. The Rockies signed Kendrick for one year at $5.5 million with incentives. Bergman demonstrated Tuesday that, whether it's in the season-opening rotation or later, he can do the same with less fanfare.

Last year's experience helped Bergman handle Cabrera's leadoff double.

"I heard someone make a comment about Kendrick, when he pitched at the Angels' place -- loaded bases, nobody out," Bergman said. "Didn't much faze him. 'I've been here before.' He ended up giving up a run and pitched fine.

"Seeing that as an example and having experience to back it up, it was no big deal."

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.