Versatility Key for Senzatela Making Opening Day Roster

SCOTTSDALE, Az. – Manager Bud Black did not make anything official, but in his daily media session Sunday it was apparent that Antonio Senzatela is in line to make the opening day roster. That doesn’t necessarily mean he will be in the rotation, though.

Black said he is comfortable with Senzatela in the rotation or in the bullpen, where he would provide a right-handed long man to share duties with left-hander Chris Rusin.

“We saw good work out of the bullpen when we moved him there last year,” said Black. “And we saw good work when he was in the rotation early in the season. If we start the season with him in the bullpen he will be a great weapon there for us if we need length (in a game) or go into extra innings.”

Senzatela made the jump to the big leagues last year after being limited to seven starts at Double-A Hartford in 2016 because of shoulder problems, and a return to his native Venezuela to be with his teriminally ill mother.

He was 10-5 with a 4.68 ERA in his rookie season, going 10-5 with a 5.03 ERA as a starter, and compiling a 3.04 ERA in 16 relief appearances.

This spring he has appeared in five big-league exhibition games, two of them as a starter, and is 2-2 with a 1.62 ERA. He has struck out 12 and walked four in 16 2/3 innings.

“He has had a very good spring, throwing strikes," Black said. "His arm is strong.”

Given the nature of Coors Field,Black knows the value to having a reliever capable of multiple innings. He said he would be fine to have both Senzatela and Rusin in that role.

“A lot of our guys are short spurt guys,” he said. “We need someone who is good to throw 45, 50, 55 pitches in a game.”

Tracy RingolsbyComment