Mother's Day start special for Senzatela

Mother's Day start special for Senzatela

DENVER -- A shuffling of the Rockies' starting rotation landed right-handed pitcher Antonio Senzatela's next start where it belonged -- Mother's Day.

Every start, Senzatela carries a rosary of gold in his back pocket that belonged to his mother, Nidya, who died of cancer last July 24 at the age of 52. It started as stomach cancer, but, Senzatela said, it spread to her breasts.

The Rockies allowed Senzatela, then at Double-A Hartford, to return to his native Venezuela to be with her in her final days. It was part of the reason he threw just 34 2/3 innings last season. There were also two bouts with right shoulder inflammation.

Fates intervened when the Rockies moved Tyler Anderson's start from Thursday to Saturday to give his left knee soreness time to heal. Jeff Hoffman started Thursday's opener of the four-game series against the Dodgers, a 10-7 Rockies victory. He was followed by Tyler Chatwood on Friday and then Anderson on Saturday.

Senzatela (5-1., 2.86 ERA) -- the Majors' rookie leader in wins, ERA, innings pitched (44) and winning percentage (.833) -- gets the day that should belong to him.

"It's special for me," Senzatela said. "Every day is special, because I remember my mom every day. ... Every moment."

Beyond the pink uniform accents that every team wears on Mother's Day for breast cancer awareness and a pink bat, which he used in bunting drills Friday, the most Senzatela is considering doing extra is wearing pink socks.

Senzatela said the conversation with manager Bud Black about him getting the Mother's Day start was matter-of-fact, because Senzatela kept his emotions inside.

"He asked me, 'Hey, you wanna throw Sunday,'" Senzatela said. "I said yeah. Then he said, 'You got Sunday.'"

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.