Senzatela warms to 'Little Prince' nickname

Young righty hails from same hometown as 'King Felix'

Senzatela warms to 'Little Prince' nickname

SAN DIEGO -- Time will tell if a star in the Rockies' rotation has been born. But Antonio Senzatela just might have something fitting of a star -- a nickname: "The Little Prince."

Teammate Ian Desmond started it, noting that since Senzatela -- 4-1 with a 2.84 ERA through his first six Major League starts -- is from Valencia, Venezuela, the hometown of Mariners star pitcher "King" Felix Hernandez, he needs a royal nickname.

Old-timers, or young-timers with the internet, lament the death of nicknames in baseball and throughout sports. Part of it is some nicknames past, the players didn't particularly like. Basketball star Wilt Chamberlain hated "Wilt the Stilt," said it sounded freakish. Having social media or a 24-hour news cycle at his disposal could have quashed that.

But one step toward Senzatela's nickname sticking has been satisfied.

"I like it," Senzatela said.

Rockies manager Bud Black said, "I'm in on that one. The best nicknames come from those that you're around, from teammates."

Also on the squad is righty German Marquez, another Valencia, Venezuela, product. He likes what his friend is being called. And if Marquez's last start -- eight strikeouts in six scoreless innings against the D-backs on Sunday -- becomes a pattern, is a moniker coming his way?

"I hope," Marquez said, laughing.

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.