Brothers confident good days await

Brothers confident good days await

DENVER -- It's getting late, and the game is on the line. After making the bullpen call that almost everyone in Coors Field knew was coming, manager Walt Weiss intently watches as his trusted reliever, Rex Brothers, once again shuts the door with relative ease.

It's a scenario that once occurred with predictable regularity -- and one that Weiss hopes he sees again sooner rather than later.

"He's a back-of-the-bullpen-type of guy," Weiss said earlier this week. "We want to get him back to that role, because that's where he has thrived in the past."

It's the use of the word past, though, that reveals the current reality. Considered one of the Major League's most dominant left-handed relievers just two seasons ago, Brothers has encountered more struggles since being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque on July 11.

Brothers has made three appearances with the Rockies this season, yielding two runs, four hits and four walks in just 2 2/3 innings. Two of those outings have come with the score severely lopsided, and he was lifted from the one appearance he made in a tight game before the inning even concluded.

Those showings have Brothers, unsurprisingly, frustrated.

"As far as results go, obviously, they're not what I want," Brothers said. "Not that you're not concerned with results, but I know how I feel. I know how the ball is coming out of my hand, so I know that the [results will] come.

"I can say that with total confidence, knowing that I've been on both ends of the spectrum in a relatively short amount of time."

Brothers spent the 2013 campaign as an integral part of Colorado's bullpen, recording a 1.74 ERA and 19 saves in 72 appearances. But control issues plagued him the following season, when he labored to a 5.59 ERA. Brothers' strikeout-to-walk ratio was 1.4, compared with 2.1 in 2013.

An up-and-down Spring Training this year landed Brothers at Triple-A, where he again struggled out of the gate. In his first 15 games as the Isotopes' primary setup man, he put up a 7.43 ERA and walked 15 hitters in just 13 1/3 innings.

The former first-round Draft pick had seemingly put those struggles to rest, though, in the games leading up to his promotion. Over Brothers' final 17 Triple-A appearances -- 14 of which were scoreless -- he's surrendered just four earned runs in 15 1/3 frames, and opponents were hitting just .132 off him.

"He hasn't changed much mechanically," Weiss said. "It's just a matter of going out there and having the confidence to throw his fastball for strikes. His slider has always been a putaway [pitch] -- guys don't hit it. So it's more about the fastball command."

It's evident, though, that Brothers is still a ways away from reclaiming the heralded bullpen role he once held, so he isn't worried about putting a timetable on anything.

For now the approach is simple.

"I know it's a process, and days of struggle are ahead," Brothers said. "You're never going to not struggle in this game, but I know good days are also ahead.

"I'm going to try not to ride that roller coaster and just do what I can."

Dargan Southard is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.