Friedrich set for Major League debut

Friedrich set for Major League debut

Friedrich set for Major League debut
SAN DIEGO -- Before this spring, left-hander Christian Friedrich had barely been heard from since the Rockies made him their first-round Draft pick in 2008. Because of injuries and inconsistency, Friedrich hadn't even made it as far as Triple-A.

So Friedrich, 24, went to some of the biggest names in pitching for help.

Friedrich spent a few days this winter working out with the Phillies' Cliff Lee in Little Rock, Ark. He had lunch with former Rockies all-star Mike Hampton during Spring Training, to talk about confidence and aggressiveness. Rockies veteran Jamie Moyer had his locker beside Friedrich and passed on sports psychology tips.

Now Friedrich can make a name for himself. Called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs after starting the year 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts, Friedrich will make his Major League debut for the Rockies on Wednesday against the Padres in the finale of a three-game series at Petco Park.

With the Rockies' rotation struggling this year, and with the Rockies needing to hit on some selections in the First-Year Player Draft -- for payroll control and, frankly, for their drafting and player development's reputation -- Friedrich could be a big help.

"They were probably excited in the beginning, but probably a little disappointed the last two years -- one year it was because of injuries and last year I just didn't have enough consistency," Friedrich said. "Getting up here is what I've wanted to do. This is what they've expected, and I hadn't met those expectations."

The workouts with Lee gave Friedrich conditioning ideas and reinforced the importance of a downhill plane, although Friedrich said he emulated Lee a little too much in Spring Training and had to go back to some of what was more comfortable.

Hampton taught Friedrich to believe he has the upper hand on the hitter and be aggressive -- advice that helped Friedrich pitch inside with greater effectiveness.

Moyer, a disciple of the late sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman, taught Friedrich to correct himself positively.

"Once he got over that initial kind of awe, the conversations that we did have were very positive," Moyer said. "He was very willing to share some of his experiences, good and bad."

Friedrich said he stopped focusing on results, in favor of learning. The two ended up going hand-in-hand at Colorado Springs.

"I'm always trying to learn, but even more now," Friedrich said. "Everything happens for a reason. If every mistake that happens and you learn from it, then a positive outlook comes from it. Instead of freaking out about giving up runs, figure out why you gave up the runs so you don't do it again.

"What kind of game plan? They were swinging early because they don't' want to get to your curveball. So how about making a quality fastball? You don't have to throw off-speed, just make quality pitches. It's a different mindset."

To clear a roster spot for Friedrich, the Rockies sent right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino to Colorado Springs. Ottavino threw 2 2/3 perfect innings in two games during his callup.