Rockies option rookie star Senzatela to minors

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Antonio Senzatela has a 2.84 ERA six starts into his MLB career. (Chris Humphreys/USA Today Sports)

Antonio Senzatela has a 2.84 ERA six starts into his MLB career. (Chris Humphreys/USA Today Sports)

The Colorado Rockies optioned Antonio Senzatela to their Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque on Saturday in hopes the move helps the rookie right-hander get back on track.

Lefty reliever Zac Rosscup was recalled from Albuquerque to fill the roster vacancy.

Senzatela leads major league rookies with nine victories. He burst on the scene by winning seven of his first eight decisions, though he has cooled off in recent weeks and last month was moved from the rotation to the bullpen.

Manager Bud Black said Senzatela has been in an all-out grind since early February in a determined bid to make the team and the intense workload may have caught up a bit with the young pitcher in his most recent outings.

“We felt that his velocity was down a tick, and his command was suffering a little bit,” Black said. “We felt that maybe taking a step back, maybe taking a little bit of a blow would be beneficial for him and the team.”

Black noted that Senzatela, who is 9-3 with a 4.63 ERA, would have a few days off before returning to a starting role next week for Albuquerque. He said he fully anticipates Senzatela rejoining the Rockies in the near future.

“I think this little breather hopefully will freshen up the arm and also mentally a little bit,” Black said. “He’s been going hard really since early February.”

Rosscup gives the Rockies another left-handed option in the bullpen. He was acquired June 26 from the Chicago Cubs for right-handed reliever Matt Carasiti.

Since the trade, Rosscup has pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings for Albuquerque with four strikeouts.

“He’s got a good arm, good stuff, a little bit of deception,” Black said. “When this deal was made, organizationally, we felt good about it. He’s part of our group. We like the depth that he provides moving forward.”

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