Rockies' Scahill Uses AFL To Sharpen Command





DENVER—Righthander Rob Scahill took advantage of an unexpected opportunity when the Rockies sent him to the Arizona Fall League, and he used that time to improve his fastball command.

Scahill replaced lefthander Drew Pomeranz in the AFL. Following an emergency appendectomy in late August, Pomeranz made his major league debut. He pitched well in three of four September starts, albeit with decreased velocity, and the Rockies decided the AFL would be too much.

Scahill went 12-11, 3.92 in 161 innings at Double-A Tulsa last season, with 60 walks and 104 strikeouts. To prepare for the AFL, he spent two and a half weeks in instructional league, where he made two one-inning outings.

He pitched relief in the AFL and was a deceptive 2-0, 7.36 in 11 innings with three walks and 14 strikeouts while allowing 17 hits and nine runs.

In three of his final four games, Scahill allowed eight runs and 11 hits in four innings.

Scahill, 24, sat at 93-94 mph and hit 96 mph at Tulsa with his fastball. Better command of that pitch was his offseason priority. He was much more proficient throwing low strikes and using both sides of the plate with his fastball and getting outs with that pitch in the AFL.

Scahill, who projects as a middle reliever or back-of-the-rotation starter, has a varied repertoire.

His curveball is his best secondary pitch. His slider is close to average but needs more depth. His changeup, average at times, is his fourth best pitch.

"He's got four pitches, so he's got a tendency to use his pitches other than his fastball to get outs," farm director Jeff Bridich said. "I think he's a big leaguer, but I think what's going to separate him as a big leaguer will be his ability to command his fastball and get outs with his fastball, which he can."

ROCKY ROADS

• The Rockies acquired lefthander Nick Schmidt, 26, from the Padres for reliever Huston Street. Schmidt, the 23rd overall pick in the 2007 draft, went 3-5, 3.84 in 12 starts at high Class A Lake Elsinore last season and 1-0, 5.40 in eight games (four starts) in the AFL.

• Righthanded reliever Daniel Turpen, traded to the Twins for righthander Kevin Slowey, went 2-4, 4.83 with 11 saves in 48 games at Tulsa. The Rockies acquired Turpen from the Red Sox for catcher Mike McKenry late in 2011 spring training.