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Colorado Rockies closer Adam Ottavino predicts a bullpen bounceback

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Rockies news and links for January 23, 2017

Adam Ottavino embraces chance to close for Rockies, predicts a better bullpen | Denver Post

Patrick Saunders spoke with Adam Ottavino about his return from Tommy John surgery last season, as well as what he expects from the Rockies’ bullpen this year. The closer role should be Ottavino’s to lose this spring.

Veterans Jake McGee and Jason Motte were mostly ineffective last season, while rookie Carlos Estevez showed his inexperience against big leaguers. Recent signee Mike Dunn has four saves in eight major-league seasons and should only assume the role in the event of an unexpected leap in talent or a series of bullpen disasters for the rest of the Rockies’ bullpen.

In addition to putting more distance between himself and his surgery, Ottavino is also working on a cutter to complement his trio of sliders. The cutter is designed to improve his game against left-handed batters. Ottavino also expresses optimism in the bullpen as a whole. Given the nature of the bullpen’s 2016 awfulness, that is indeed pretty safe view. He tells Saunders, “We don’t want to be the weak link on a team that has a chance to be really good.”

MLBTR Poll: Who’ll sign Greg Holland? | MLB Trade Rumors

Speaking of bullpens, Greg Holland is still a free agent, and it’s still not clear where he’ll go. The readers at MLB Trade Rumors hedged to give “Other” their top vote (39%) in a poll that also included the Nationals (29%), Dodgers (14%), Reds (8%), Rockies (7%), and Rays (3%).

Royals pitcher Ventura dies in car crash in Dominican Republic |

Yesterday, we learned that 25-year-old Yordano Ventura died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic. The Royals confirmed the sad news.

I’ll remember Ventura for throwing the ball harder than it seemed possible for someone of his diminutive stature. He played with an abundance of emotion, though he didn’t always channel that emotional energy in positive ways. Ventura played a central role in the Royals’ 2015 World Series. Baseball has lost another great talent far too soon.

This news appeared just hours after it was reported that former prospect and journeyman major-leaguer Andy Marte, 33, died in a separate car crash, also in the Dominican Republic.