Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bohanon Bolsters Rockies Leyland's Free Agent Choice Pays Dividends in Colorado

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bohanon Bolsters Rockies Leyland's Free Agent Choice Pays Dividends in Colorado

Article excerpt

DENVER -- Brian Bohanon knew what people were thinking when the Colorado Rockies signed the journeyman free agent to a three-year, $9 million contract in October.

"Most folks in Colorado probably didn't even know who I was," Bohanon admits.

But Jim Leyland knew.

The Rockies manager liked what he had seen from Bohanon in 1998, when the crafty left-hander put together the best year of his baseball life despite splitting the season between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers.

That's why he ranked Bohanon second on his offseason wish list, just behind Kevin Brown.

"He's one of those left-handers who came along a little later and figured it out," Leyland said of Bohanon, who was 7-11 with a 2.67 ERA last season, when he allowed two earned runs or less in nine of his 14 starts with the Dodgers after arriving from New York in a July 10 trade. "He spots the ball, mixes up his pitches, changes speeds. He knows how to set up hitters. He doesn't give in. He knows how to pitch.

"I knew we were getting a good one -- and at a good rate, too."

Indeed, if Bohanon continues to pitch as well as he has throughout the first month of his first season in Colorado, the Rockies have themselves a bona fide bargain.

Bohanon, who will turn 31 on Aug. 1, has started five games for the Rockies and won them all. He'll go into today's Coors Field matinee against the Phillies with a staff-best, 3.27 ERA.

"Brian has pitched well, but it's hard to compare him to the other guys," pitching coach Milt May said. "He's got more pitches than the other guys and he's got a real feel for how to get hitters out. Plus, he trusts his stuff. He's not afraid to throw any pitch in any situation. He's a different type of pitcher."

Darryl Kile is supposed to be the team's ace. But 17 months after the Rockies lured him to Colorado with a three-year, $24 million deal, Kile is 15-19 with a 5.07 ERA. He's 2-2 with a 4.25 ERA in six starts this season. …

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