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After strong start, Morales sent down

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1After strong start, Morales sent down Empty After strong start, Morales sent down on Wed 08 Apr 2009, 10:33 pm

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After strong start, Morales sent down


Rockies make room to activate right-hander Hammel


 


PHOENIX -- Rockies left-hander Franklin Morales knew before taking the mound on Wednesday that he was going to be leaving for Triple-A. But he made a case for being invited back.


After Morales held the Diamondbacks to one run in six innings, with six strikeouts, for the decision in Colorado's 9-2 victory, the Rockies sent him to Triple-A Colorado Springs. The planned move was done in order to activate right-hander Jason Hammel, who was obtained in a trade from the Rays on Sunday for Minor League right-hander Aneury Rodriguez.

The Rockies don't need five starters in their rotation until April 21. After such a strong performance, it would seem logical that Morales would be the one. But all manager Clint Hurdle would commit to is Morales starting for Colorado Springs on Wednesday.

Complicating the Rockies' roster situation is the fact that they're going to activate right-hander Matt Belisle on Wednesday. The corresponding move likely will be to somehow remove right-hander Juan Morillo, either by designating him for assignment or dealing him.

"We've got a rotation and a bullpen that's in progress, and we're going to add these two pieces," Hurdle said. "We're going to have almost a two-week window in what to look at. A lot of things can happen off the mound with a club in two weeks.

"I encouraged him [to stay] focused on pitching. That's what he's been focused on all winter and through the spring, and everything else will take care of itself. He's been very professional. He's taken some nice steps forward from where he was last year."

Last season, when Morales was 1-2 with a 6.39 ERA through April, he was sent down and never invited back. A strong spring and a standout first start of the regular season put him in a different place. But for at least the next couple weeks, his place will be Colorado Springs.

"I'm not thinking about that," Morales said. "I do my job. It's not my decision. I've got to go down and keep pitching.

"I feel good. I feel healthy."

Hammel, 26, went 7-15 with a 5.90 ERA in 73 games over three seasons with the Rays, including 2-2 with a 4.88 ERA in 40 games (five starts) last season. Belisle, 28, is 17-22 with a 5.06 ERA in 132 games (43 starts) since 2003, exclusively with the Reds.


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