Logan enters '16 with optimistic outlook

Lefty reliever brings positive mood into spring as he aims to prove himself to Rockies

Logan enters '16 with optimistic outlook

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- At a time of year when fans are regaled with best-shape-of-my-career tales, Rockies veteran lefty reliever Boone Logan offers a twist as his team prepares for Friday's start of pitcher/catcher workouts: His mood is the best it's been in a while.

In December 2013, Logan signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract -- the richest deal the Rockies have ever given a reliever. But he was coming off surgery to remove bone spurs from his throwing elbow. Between that surgery, continued elbow problems, even a bout with diverticulitis and another elbow surgery at the end, Logan suffered through a 2-3, 6.84 ERA performance in 35 games in '14. Last year, he managed 60 games but spent much of the year battling continued elbow issues and went 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA.

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What does this have to do with his mood? Well, try having the very body part with which you make your living injured and ineffective. The Rockies expected Logan to be a leader, but he admitted he "wasn't the most enjoyable person to be around."

After a stint on the disabled list in August to rest the elbow, though, Logan found effectiveness. Used in a lefty specialist role, Logan gave up one run in his final 12 appearances covering five innings, and he held opponents to a .176 batting average.

"I wish that the season would have started right then," Logan said. "That's when I felt the best I've felt in a long time. I felt like a million bucks. I didn't want the season to end. I really didn't.

"Coming in hurt, or getting hurt the first year with a new team, it was tough. It was tough to have an identity with my teammates. I totally understand it. Last year was different, and toward the end I was able to be happy again and be myself more. My teammates appreciated that. I've gotten real close to my teammates now. It's almost like they forgave me in a way."

Effectiveness as part of a solid bullpen is the destination for true peace -- for a reliever. Still, Logan's revamped attitude is a plus.

"It's very mature of him to say that," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It takes a lot to openly say that you feel like you fell short in some areas. It's always tough going to a new club. That was an adjustment. That was a big part of it that first year.

"But he and Darren Holmes [hired as bullpen coach before last season] have really developed a close relationship back there. Darren's not the only thing, but that was a part of it."

This offseason, the Rockies signed righties Jason Motte and Chad Qualls, both of whom pitched on playoff teams last year. They also traded outfielder Corey Dickerson to the Rays for Jake McGee, a lefty who is equally successful against right- and left-handed batters. Weiss now can match Logan and his fastball-slider mix against left-handers -- whom he held to a .225 average and two extra-base hits (both doubles) in 86 plate appearances last year.

"I know he wants to put together an entire inning and face both left- and right-handers; he's capable of doing that," Weiss said. "But I know he can get lefties out when he has struggled. We're looking for that level of consistency, and he can certainly get it done."

Logan, 31, held onto the good feelings at the end of last season by continuing to throw, whether it was a weighted baseball onto a springboard or even a football. He feels ready for a last chance to justify the Rockies' investment.

"Usually, it's hard to leave home in the offseason, but this year it was easy," Logan said. "I was looking forward to leaving and starting the next chapter, the next season of baseball. I have a lot pushing me this year, so I'm ready to go."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.