Healthy elbow has Logan feeling confident

Rockies reliever ready to contribute from left side in late innings

Healthy elbow has Logan feeling confident

MILWAUKEE -- A pain-free left elbow has given Rockies reliever Boone Logan a fresh outlook.

"I haven't felt this good in, shoot, I don't know how long," Logan said. "My attitude has changed. My mind's more clear. In life, I'm a lot happier, that's for sure."

The Rockies signed Logan before last season even though he'd undergone surgery to remove bone chips from his throwing elbow at the end of 2013 with the Yankees. But Logan didn't fully recover. He spent his first year of a three-year, $16.5 million deal with Colorado on and off the disabled list -- three times for the elbow, and once with a digestive ailment. A lost season ended with surgery to remove a bone spur.

But this spring, Logan posted a 1.04 ERA in 8 2/3 innings and saw a return of the wipeout slider that made him a key bullpen figure with the Yankees. With Logan hurting and struggling last year (2-3, 6.84 ERA in 35 games), the Rockies had to lean heavily on Rex Brothers, who also was struggling.

Even with Brothers trying to find his form at Triple-A Albuquerque, the Rockies begin 2015 in decent shape from the left side. They'll use Christian Friedrich, who has a solid sinker and slider, earlier in games, and Logan later when they have leads. Adam Ottavino and John Axford are interchangeable righty setup men for LaTroy Hawkins.

"We'll start out with Boone getting those later innings," manager Walt Weiss said. "He's in a real good place. He had a very good spring. His mindset is real good. He's healthy and it shows in the way he carries himself and the way he's out there competing."

Logan's confidence goes deeper than a good feeling about his arm.

"I'm very optimistic and on board with the fact we're going to be contenders this year," Logan said. "It's almost like we're being quiet about it with the world, and that's what it's got to be. Words don't mean anything to the league. We haven't won in forever. We're just going to go out there and show them on the field."

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.