Veteran Hawkins carries on with his own style

Closer pitches for his biggest fans -- his grandparents

Veteran Hawkins carries on with his own style

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins has been thriving and surviving with a heavy fastball and sharp slider in the Majors since 1995. He does show an offspeed pitch, although not as often as his grandmother would like.

"Six or seven years ago, my grandmother was watching Pedro Martinez pitch -- he had that good changeup," Hawkins said. "She called me and said, 'LaTroy, are you watching that boy pitch?'

"I said, 'Who.'

"You know, on the Boston team. You need to learn that pitch he throws.

"I said, 'It ain't that simple, Grandma.' I put Grandad back on and said, 'Tell your wife it's not that easy.' I want to throw a better changeup. I can throw them OK, just not too many."

Hawkins is doing fine with what he has this spring, although he admitted throwing three times in four days, including games Sunday and Monday, was a shock to his arm. But Hawkins said the work is moving him toward regular-season form. He will pitch again Friday before heading into Monday's regular-season opener at Milwaukee -- his 18th straight opener and 20th overall.

His grandparents will be among his biggest fans, although Grandma won't actually see his pitch-mix. She gets too nervous to watch.

"My grandfather watches and gives her the news -- he'll scream to the bedroom and tell her what's going on," Hawkins said.

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.