Old news, but I think it needs to be noted as a (weird, unexplained) development in the (also weird) four-man rotation experiment.
Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca—a key creator of the team’s unusual four-man rotation—was reassigned at his request on Tuesday.
The Rockies named bullpen coach Jim Wright and Triple-A Colorado Springs pitching coach Bo McLaughlin as co-pitching coaches, with McLaughlin in charge of starters and Wright in charge of relievers. Apodaca was named special assistant to general manager Dan O’Dowd, and will be responsible for special pitching assignments.
Apodaca, 62, was the Rockies’ pitching coach since 2003, the first full year that former skipper Clint Hurdle managed the team. He remained pitching coach when Jim Tracy replaced Hurdle during the 2009 season. Apodaca met with the team before Tuesday night’s game against the Nationals at Coors Field, but was not available to the media…
“I have a great relationship with Bob so, no, I wasn’t surprised, as this is a difficult and challenging position,” O’Dowd said. “In 10 years, Bob has been the ultimate professional. I have some ideas for Bob the rest of the year. We really didn’t get into things beyond that.”
Tracy, however, said he was caught off-guard.
“He’s the proud man that he is,” Tracy said. “It was quite an emotional discussion in my office. He did not want the interpretation to be as though he was abandoning the ship, or anything like that. It was something that was extremely heartfelt, because I saw the way he reacted as he was describing that to me.
“I completely understand where he’s at. I know what stress and fatigue can do to a man. In the long run, this may end up doing Bobby a world of good. I really, truly understand in my heart that he is emotionally, physically and mentally eaten up right now, and he deserves a break.” ...
this year has brought mound misery. The Rockies’ pitching struggles are quantified by a 5.29 team ERA, which includes a 6.36 ERA for starters. The Rockies beefed up their offense, but the foundering of the pitching—especially the starters—has been a key cause of a 28-44 record going into Tuesday night.
The situation led the Rockies last Tuesday to go to an unusual starting pitching plan. Colorado is using a four-man rotation with a 75-pitch limit, as an extreme attempt to force the pitchers to attack the strike zone more effectively.
The concept has been talked about by analysts in the Rockies’ front office for years, but Apodaca was part of giving it a chance in actual competition.
“Bob and Jimmy Wright were probably the two biggest creators and supporters of the concept,” O’Dowd said. “That had nothing to do with his decision.” ...
“I was surprised,” Wright said. “We had been together 10 years, including the last four up here. We became very close. We had worked together, bounced things off of each other.
“Everybody’s got their own reasons. He’s been around a long time. He’s a good man. I think in some respects he felt, as someone who has pride in his work, he was letting people down. I don’t agree with that. But it takes a lot of guts to walk away.”