Motte feeds off adrenaline of regular season

Rockies reliever working on ramping up fastball velocity

Motte feeds off adrenaline of regular season

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-handed reliever Jason Motte can only bring so much heat on these Spring Training days. He says he'll need regular-season atmosphere to help him fire his fastball to consistently reach the 95 mph it averaged last year, or the 97.1 he blazed out before Tommy John surgery in 2012.

"I'm a big adrenaline junkie," said Motte, who gave up four runs on four hits, including Brandon Belt's two-run homer, but reached 95, in a 2/3 of an inning in Sunday's 10-4 loss to the Giants.

"I'll leave it at that," he said. "I love the adrenaline. You can't fake adrenaline. You can't fake that intensity."

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Manager Walt Weiss hasn't pinpointed which stage of the game he'll be calling upon Motte, who brings closing experience to the bullpen. Weiss has hinted that he could mix and match, and said Sunday committing to a ninth-inning plan is not yet a priority.

So Motte, who signed for two years and $10 million during the offseason, is working on being ready for any role, although it's likely to be late or at the end.

Motte, 33, pitched for the Cardinals from 2009-14, although he missed 2013 because of the surgery. He led the National League with 42 saves in 2012. Last year, Motte turned in 57 appearances with the Cubs (8-1, 3.91 ERA, six saves), although a late-season shoulder strain knocked him off the postseason roster. But Motte, who said the fatigue was something that happens during a comeback year, might have been ready had the Cubs gone to the World Series. He reports feeling healthy now.

"The arm feels good and body feels good, and that's the most important part," said Motte, who mixes a cutter with his fastball. "I've been able to toss every day, so everything else kind of works itself out. At a certain point, you figure everything is in there the way it's supposed to be and you just go out and do it."

With lefty Jake McGee able to work equally against left- and right-handed batters and Chad Qualls, also signed for two years, bringing 74 career saves, Weiss has experienced options. The Rockies lost potential closer Jairo Diaz for the season because of an elbow injury suffered earlier in camp, but righty Miguel Castro has the back-of-the-bullpen power.

Motte has shown Weiss the aggressive quality that attracted the Rockies.

"He gets the ball and he attacks," Weiss said. "There's not a lot going on there. That's who he's always been. The ball is still coming out of his hand really well, he commands the ball and he doesn't walk people. He just gets the ball and goes."

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.