Ottavino itching to return to Rockies

Ottavino itching to return to Rockies

SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-handed relief pitcher Adam Ottavino became so excited after the second of his flawless injury-rehab relief appearances for Triple-A Albuquerque, on consecutive nights, that he started texting.

Ottavino, 30, made sure Rockies decision-makers knew he felt ready to return, after being out of the Majors for 14 months because of an elbow injury and Tommy John right elbow surgery.

"I think I was scheduled to fly back to Albuquerque yesterday, but after my last game, I wrote some texts and said I feel good to go," said Ottavino, who was being evaluated by the Rockies' staff Monday at AT&T Park and could return to the active roster as soon as Tuesday. "From my perspective, that's where I'm at.

"They want to do the best they can from my perspective. Nobody's pushed me. They said, 'You can take the full 30 days' [the limit of the rehab assignment, which would mean July 10] and we still may. But I just wanted to speak up because I felt good. I didn't want to waste my bullets down there."

As the All-Star break approaches, Rockies manager Walt Weiss has found himself with a potentially potent late bullpen, although it could take time to have everyone dependably healthy and sharp.

Lefty Jake McGee returned from left knee inflammation Sunday. Righty Jason Motte, who missed the first 44 games with a right shoulder strain, is climbing out of a slump. Rookie righty Carlos Estevez has received a trial by fire in the closer role in McGee's absence. At Albuquerque is power righty Miguel Castro, who is trying to regain the form he had before early-season right shoulder inflammation kicked off an extended period of scattered results.

Ottavino, who had 10 scoreless appearances and had become the Rockies' closer before suffering his injury, would give the Rockies five pitchers with experience closing games (Castro was the Blue Jays' closer early last season, at 20).

"It's a nice problem to have," Weiss said. "I don't know if it really matters a whole lot what inning they pitch in -- when you've got guys that can protect leads, that's all you want. That stuff tends to sort itself out. There are different factors. You can match up."

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.