The Arizona Diamondbacks enter the 2013 season with a slew of new players on the roster.
One familiar face, even with the bushy beard he’s sporting during spring training, is pitcher Josh Collmenter.
In 2012, it was tough to put Collmenter into a category. He spent time as a starter, long reliever and an innings eater. So how does the right-hander view his role heading into the season?
“A lot of it just depends on what the team wants to do. I figured either between being a long guy or a starter, whichever role they decide is best, I’m going to have to be ready to throw a lot of innings,” said Collmenter on Friday.
“So my preparation in the offseason coming into spring training was essentially the same. It was to be able to build up innings, build up endurance and durability and be able to — whether it was three or four innings at a time out of the pen or trying to get six, seven, eight innings as a starter — I was trying to focus on being able to do both of those.”
The 27-year-old is no stranger to adjusting on the fly. Last season Collmenter made 17 appearances out of the bullpen and 11 starts — a handful of which were late decisions.
Even Collmenter sees the value in having a versatile guy like him on the roster.
“I think it has (value), just seeing last year and talking to other bullpen guys, especially towards the end of the year when I just got thrown back into the starting rotation, not a lot of guys can do that and I realized the value in saving the bullpen innings, especially the back end,” said Collmenter. “They don’t have to use as many innings in the middle of the year, then they’re going to be good for us down the stretch and stay fresh. It’s key to be able to provide that link, whether you can put up a couple zeros and maybe help a comeback or just eat up a couple innings, it’s a pretty valuable role.”
Collmenter is in entering his third season in the big leagues and has significantly better numbers as a reliever. Out of the bullpen, Collmenter has registered a stellar 1.31 ERA in 48 innings, while as a starter, his ERA is a much less-impressive 4.03 in 196.2 innings.
Despite his success as a reliever, Collmenter would like to be a stalwart in the Diamondbacks’ rotation.
“There are things I like about both. Probably starting though more so just because I like the preparation and being able to be the guy that goes out every fifth day, the team is putting everything in you to help get a win.”
But Collmenter, dubbed “the Ferris Wheel” due to his unusual, over-the-top throwing motion also has a soft spot in his heart for his duties as a reliever.
“I also do like coming out of the bullpen. It’s kind of an adrenaline rush you don’t get as a starter, everything just kind of builds up, you don’t know what day you’re going to pitch,” he said. “In the bullpen you’re just waiting for the phone to ring and you get those quick bursts of adrenaline, get ready and go. You know that’s fun too.”