ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 24: Alex White #6 of the Colorado delivers a pitch against the Texas Rangers in the interleague game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 24, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
The Rockies announced the following via Press Release today:
The Colorado Rockies announced today that the club has recalled right-handed pitcher Zach Putnam from Triple-A Colorado Springs. To make room on the active roster for Putnam, the Rockies have optioned right-handed pitcher Alex White to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Putnam (#54) will be in uniform and available for tonight's Rockies vs. Nationals game at Coors Field (6:40 p.m. MDT).
Alex White has had some fine moments since he was recalled to the majors, but it's hard to say that he's putting it together well enough, as the fine moments seem to come in different games and are surrounded by crappy moments. He had a very solid start against Seattle and a very solid start against the Dodgers, but there were too many starts where "Well, he didn't allow any homers today" or "He only walked 3 batters!" highlighted the "good things" to say. Factor in a 6.45 ERA with FIP numbers to match, and this move is far from a surprise.
White's problems right now are similar to last season: too many walks, troubles with the longball. For a guy with such excellent groundball numbers as White, those home run rates are incredibly confusing. This, I'd wager, is a part of the developing contact groundballer. This is also why a demotion to Colorado Springs isn't a terrible idea. When Matt Herges pitched with the Rockies, he spent some time in AAA, and he claimed it was a better learning environment for pitchers than it was credited, based mostly on pitch location - keeping the ball down. White will be able to work on those fundamentals in the Springs while potentially giving Drew Pomeranz or possibly a member of the Drillers' staff a chance to prove themselves in the majors.
Pomeranz has pitched well in the Springs, to the tune of a 2.51 ERA in 47 innings. It doesn't seem that performance in the short run is a major problem for Pomeranz at this point, and he would fit well into the 75-pitch-count rotation the Rockies are utilizing right now.
Putnam will be used to help sop up innings in the 5th and 6th, and will really just be giving the bullpen a little relief until White's rotation slot comes back up. Putnam was obtained in trade with Cleveland for Kevin Slowey, and has a 4.94 ERA in 27 innings. Putnam also has a K/9 of 12.18 to a BB/9 of 3.62. Intriguing.