Cabrera Becomes Late Bloomer For Rockies





DENVER—Asheville lefthander Edwar Cabrera was 20 when he began his professional career in 2008, and is playing in his first full-season league this year. At 23, Cabrera is far from a prodigy in the low Class A South Atlantic League, but he appears to be making up for lost time.

After five starts, Cabrera was 2-1, 3.66. He had held opponents to a .210 average, and in 32 innings, Cabrera had allowed two walks with a league-leading 44 strikeouts.

In 2008 and 2009, Cabrera, who is from the Dominican Republic, pitched in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League and for Rookie-level Casper. Last year, he moved up to short-season Tri-City and went 1-8, 3.07 while leading the Northwest League in strikeouts (87) and strikeouts per nine innings (10.7). He averaged 2.9 walks per nine innings, certainly not a bad rate but nowhere near as stunning as this season (0.6).

Farm director Marc Gustafson, who said Cabrera might be a bit of a late bloomer, has always had a good changeup but has responded well to some suggestions while at Tri-City.

"We've challenged him," Gustafson said, "and this is going back to last year during the course of the season, and his No. 1 area of improvement was fastball command—pitching inside.

"He was dominant in Tri-City, but it's because he was good with his fastball and great (with his) changeup. But lets's get that fastball in and really be able to command the fastball in, continue the changeup and mix in your breaking ball."

The latter is more of a slurve and an average major league pitch. The changeup is probably above-average. Cabrera's fastball is 88-90 mph with the ability to reach 91 mph when he needs to and possibly 92 mph.

"He's really a guy that's got three pitches that we can project as major league average," Gustafson said.

ROCKY ROADS

• Double-A Tulsa righthander Juan Nicasio was 4-1, 1.88 in his first five starts with four walks, a Texas League-leading 40 strikeouts and one homer allowed in 29 innings.

• During a 10-day stay with the Rockies before being optioned back to Triple-A Colorado Springs when the Rockies went from 13 to 12 pitchers, righthander Clayton Mortensen threw eight scoreless innings in two long relief appearances. He allowed two hits and got 16 groundball outs.