Too late for Friedrich to make Opening Day rotation

Christian FriedrichFriedrich is behind when it comes to making the Opening Day rotation.

After having his season done in August with a back injury, it was going to take a while for him to pitch.  He was hoping to pitch when spring training started, but the Rockies wanted him to take his time.

Friedrich finally pitched last night against the Reds at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. He did okay, which was to be expected after missing so much time.

He started off rusty by giving up a double to Cesar Izturis, and a single to Donald Lutz that scored Izturis. Jay Bruce hit a two-run home run after that.

He settled down in the next inning.

Overall, Friedrich gave up two runs on four hits in two innings.

Nope, he has no shot of making the rotation. He was a long shot to make it after missing so much time.

There’s no question Friedrich is disappointed that he never had a chance to make an impression to first-year Rockies manager Walt Weiss and Rockies pitching coach Jim Wright.

He felt he was good enough to be in the rotation this year.

In 16 starts, Friedrich was 5-8 with .617 ERA last year. His losing record stems from pitching in pain according to the Rockies.

To Friedrich’s credit, he showed glimmer of hope. He threw strikes, and he went after hitters. He showed he is not afraid to pitch at Coors Field.

His best outing came on June 4 when he threw seven shutout innings in the Rockies’ 4-0 shutout victory against the Diamondbacks last year.

He can build on this according to the organization. They like his mental makeup on the mound. They know he can throw all sorts of pitches such as the curveball, slider, changeup and fastball.

The Rockies hope Friedrich can show what he can do this spring training. He was going to compete with Drew Pomeranz, Chris Volstad and Tyler Chatwood for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.

It was not meant to be for him.

The Rockies have to hope Friedrich  can show improvement at Triple-A Colorado Springs before they call him up to the majors this year.

They would love to see him start this year. They feel he can only make progress by pitching in the majors. A pitcher’s growth can be determined by how he fares going up against hitters in the majors. He can only do so much in the minors.

The Rockies would love to have a rotation that can give them a chance every game.

They only have three serviceable pitchers in Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa and Jeff Francis. They would love to develop two young starters this season, and they feel Pomeranz and Friedrich can be guys they can develop.

Juan Nicasio is not the answer with the way he has pitched this spring training. He has given up 11 runs on 15 hits in the 10 innings he pitched. He continues to struggle when it comes to throwing secondary pitches.

Nicasio is fortunate there are not many options for Weiss to replace him. Right now, he will be in the rotation even though he does not deserve to be there.

Volstad has done okay, but it is clear Weiss does not think he is not a starting material based on his ability to give up home runs when he pitches.

This is why it was disappointing for Friedrich that he did not have a chance to show Weiss what he can do. Maybe he beats Nicasio for a spot in the rotation if he pitched well enough.

All Friedrich can do is show that he is ready by pitching well in the minors.

If Nicasio struggles and Friedrich does well next month, there could be changes in the rotation.

The Rockies are better off if Friedrich is in the rotation.

They saw enough of Nicasio. He is good enough to be a reliever. He is not a starter. He gets hit around when the hitters face him second time in the game. He relies only on his fastball.

The Rockies can do better.

They are hoping Friedrich could be a guy that makes the rotation better.

They like to see a guy who can develop into serviceable starter. He has the stuff to be good. It’s a matter of him going out there and performing. The fact the Rays wanted him this offseason shows you how they believe he is good. That’s why the Rockies haven’t traded him yet.

Friedrich will not be in the rotation with the Rockies to start the season, but it does not mean all is lost for him.

All it takes is one good month for him to pitch for the Rockies.

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