Rockies option Castro, select contract of Flande

Rockies option Castro, select contract of Flande

DENVER -- The Rockies optioned right-handed reliever Miguel Castro to Triple-A Albuquerque and selected the contract of lefty Yohan Flande in a move designed to add reinforcements to a tired bullpen and help the struggling Castro regain consistency.

Castro, 21, had a 1.50 ERA in six early-season appearances before experiencing right shoulder inflammation. Since then, he has a 9.35 ERA in 13 Major League outings. He gave up two runs and recorded just one out during the D-backs' six-run seventh inning -- a key swing in the Rockies' 10-9 loss on Friday night.

"There are some elements that are tied to his mechanics -- the timing over the rubber," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "That's such a big arm that there is some margin for error, but fastball command is a little sketchy lately. Getting that back will be key."

The move represents another big league opportunity for Flande, who was solid more often than not with the Rockies last season while going 3-3 with a 4.74 ERA in 19 games (10 starts).

Flande rings up Cruz

Flande was removed from the Major League roster during the offseason, but he stayed on a Minor League deal and accepted being sent to Albuquerque to start the season despite posting a 3.21 ERA with 16 strikeouts against two walks in Spring Training. He went 3-3 with a 4.25 ERA in 18 games (one start) at Albuquerque.

Staying the course: Rookie closer Carlos Estevez took ninth-inning losses on Thursday and Friday nights. Weiss said it's important to stay even-keeled with Estevez, who took the job when Jake McGee went on the disabled list with left knee inflammation. It's not clear how things will fall when everyone is healthy and productive, but Estevez has a power fastball that the Rockies need as they build their bullpen.

"He's been very good for us," Weiss said. "It's just that when you're in that role, every blemish … you don't fly under the radar. He's a great kid, got a great head on his shoulders. I'm sure the way he's handled those tough outings with [the media] I'm sure speaks volumes about his maturity. He's a stand-up kid. He's going to be a really big piece for us."

Weiss said he is looking at pitch sequences and whether Estevez is giving hitters keys.

Estevez has maintained confidence, partly because of his manager.

"He has shown me before he trusts me," Estevez said. "He gives me confidence. I know he's still going to go to me if he needs me, and it's really important even if I fail, I know that he trusts me."

A potential closing situation on Saturday, however, was uncertain. Generally, Weiss tries to stay away from a pitcher after three straight games. Estevez has thrown 33 pitches over the last two, and those were high-stress situations. He didn't pitch for four days before Thursday, so there might not be as much arm fatigue.

Just bad luck: Third baseman Nolan Arenado said even though it looked bad getting caught in a rundown on Friday -- he was at third as the potential tying run when Mark Reynolds grounded out with a runner also at first -- his action was proper.

Arenado said by drawing a throw, he prevented a double play. However, the Rockies didn't score in the inning.

D-backs catch Arenado in rundown

"People are probably wondering, but people in the game know that's something you have to do," Arenado said. "The ball was hit and [D-backs second baseman Jean] Segura was already on second base. It would have been a tailor-made, easy double play. We know Mark doesn't run great. I tried to stay in the rundown as long as I could. It just didn't work out.

"That was probably one of the worst losses I've ever been a part of. The last few games have been really frustrating. You've got to move on. It's a weird feeling, losing games like that. It's something we have to deal with."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. 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.