On Baseball: Colorado Pitching Coaches Want an Atmosphere of Confidence

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Rockies starter Jon Gray before a spring training game in Arizona last week. Colorado’s pitching coaches, he said, “like guys who are mentally tough, guys who don’t make excuses.”

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Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — With the fifth overall pick in the 1992 expansion draft, the Colorado Rockies chose Darren Holmes, a relief pitcher from the Milwaukee Brewers. The prospect of working a mile above sea level did not intimidate Holmes, who had pitched well in a brief stint for the Brewers’ Class AAA team, based in Denver. He soon developed a simple theory about pitching there.

“Three-one count, here’s a fastball,” Holmes said. “Hit it as far as you want to hit it, because I’m not going to walk you.”

Holmes struck out three batters for every walk in that first Rockies season, and he earned 25 saves. He would last four more years in Denver, with a respectable E.R.A. of 4.42.

Now, with Steve Foster, Holmes has the hardest job in the major leagues. Foster is the Rockies’ pitching coach, and Holmes is the bullpen coach. Their task is to…

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