Rockies hand closer's job to 41-year-old Hawkins

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 17, 2014 at 5:54 pm •  Published: February 17, 2014
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Colorado Rockies' new closer is an old familiar face.

On the first day of spring training Monday, 41-year-old LaTroy Hawkins was given the job by manager Walt Weiss.

Hawkins was a member of the Rockies in 2007 when they lost to Boston in the World Series. He saved 13 games last season for the New York Mets.

With fond memories of his earlier one-year stint with the Rockies, Hawkins said it was a "no-brainer" to sign a one-year deal with Colorado.

The Rockies made several offseason moves to bolster a bullpen that had a National League-worst 4.23 ERA last season.

As Colorado's pitchers and catchers lined up to jog Monday morning, Rockies strength coach Brian Jordan announced they would run in groups.

"The first group is for all guys with 17 or more years of service," Jordan yelled.

Nobody ran, until Hawkins realized he was being targeted.

"That's me," Hawkins said, before breaking into a slow trot by himself as his younger teammates applauded and laughed.

Despite his age, Hawkins is certainly being counted on to handle an important role.

"Hawk is coming in as our closer," Weiss said. "He did an outstanding job the second half of last season. He was lights out and finished strong in that role for the Mets."

Colorado's bullpen has also added Boone Logan, who was signed away from the New York Yankees, and Franklin Morales is beginning his second stint in Colorado after being acquired from Boston.

The Rockies wanted Hawkins to be the closer so Rex Brothers could slide back into the setup role.

It didn't take long to convince Hawkins to return to Denver despite offers from other teams that don't play a mile above sea level in a hitter-friendly park.

"We went to the World Series here. You can't beat it," Hawkins said. "It was one of those dream years. The only nightmare was that we didn't win it all. But that made it a lot easier. There are a lot of good memories from wearing this purple and black."

Hawkins allowed two hits and one run in five postseason innings for the Rockies, who were swept by the Red Sox in the World Series. He left for the New York Yankees that winter, and his only other postseason appearance was in 2008 with Milwaukee.