Rockies recall flexible Speier
Dependable right-hander returns to Colorado for third time
NEW YORK -- Rockies right-handed reliever Ryan Speier has two primary job descriptions: Help the Rockies when they need him, and go to Triple-A Colorado Springs and stay ready when the big club doesn't need him.
The Rockies called him up for Friday's opener of a three-game series against the Mets and optioned left-hander Cedrick Bowers to Colorado Springs. It was Speier's second call up. In reality, he's had three call ups -- the other time, he was sent to Class A Asheville and Colorado Springs for a rehab assignment for a bruised right shoulder.
Being at the ready is a huge part of Speier's job. Sleeping at normal times isn't guaranteed.
This time, Speier was called up after Colorado Springs' game against Sacramento on Thursday night. Speier said he didn't hit the sack until 8 a.m. ET on Friday. Of course, that didn't stop him from telling Rockies bullpen coach Rick Matthews that he was "fresh." From a pitching standpoint, that was correct, since he had not thrown since Monday.
Bowers had an 11.57 ERA in 6 2/3 innings over five games with the Rockies, who wanted to see if they could use him in lefty-on-lefty matchups. But that didn't happen often enough, manager Clint Hurdle said.
So he turned to Speier (1-1, 4.13 ERA in 28 1/3 innings going into Friday). Hurdle noted that the fact Speier has a Minor League option -- meaning he can be sent down without having to be exposed to waivers -- has had more to do with his up-and-down status than his performance.
"I've been in that role, to fill a different void, [be] versatile, a backup," Hurdle said. "Any opportunity you get is a good one. He's handled it very professionally."
Speier said his trips to the Minors have given him an opportunity to work on consistency so he can be a full-fledged member of the pitching staff in future seasons. But Speier came into this season prepared for his unstable role on the roster.
"I bought a house in Castle Rock [roughly halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs], because I thought I would be going both ways," Speier said.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.