Kendrick's return marks transition to 6-man rotation

Kendrick's return marks transition to 6-man rotation

DENVER -- In between Tuesday's doubleheader action, Rockies manager Walt Weiss announced that Colorado will likely deploy a six-man rotation moving forward.

The first part of that rotation began with Kyle Kendrick's return to the mound in the Rockies' 5-3 loss to Arizona at Coors Field -- his first outing since right shoulder inflammation sent him to the disabled list on Aug. 1.

Kendrick, who was on a 70- to 75-pitch limit going in, reached that after four innings, surrendering just three hits and one run with two strikeouts and two walks. He finished at 72 pitches, 41 for strikes.

"The main thing I was worried about was my stamina and getting tired as my pitch count went up," Kendrick said. "All in all -- maybe I got a little tired there in the last inning because I walked a couple guys -- but I felt pretty good overall. I'm happy with it."

Before landing on the DL, Kendrick's struggles had been well documented. He entered Tuesday's start with a career-worst 6.43 ERA and had won just two of his previous 11 starts. Only twice this season had the right-hander given up one run or fewer in an outing that lasted longer than one inning

But Kendrick, a nine-year veteran who just turned 31, credited Tuesday's effective outing to a few tweaks in his preparation, including placing even more emphasis on recovery.

"I don't feel old, but now that I'm getting older and getting some innings under my belt, I think changing my routine a little bit has been the main thing," Kendrick said. "Can't go up there and long toss like I used to when I was 18, that's for sure. So [I'm] just trying to change things up."

Those alterations could prove beneficial down the stretch. Kendrick signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal in February and will likely be looking for a new suitor this offseason.

Colorado's usage of a six-man rotation, which also includes Jon Gray, Chris Rusin, Jorge De La Rosa, Chad Bettis and Yohan Flande at the moment, should help Kendrick by giving his arm an extra day of rest.

"I'll just try to pitch as well as I can when it's my turn to start," Kendrick said. "If it's a six-man rotation, I guess that gives me three or four more starts. Hopefully, I can finish strong and show teams I'm healthy going into this winter."

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