SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Right-hander Adam Ottavino has earned the closer job for the NL West-leading Colorado Rockies.
Manager Walt Weiss made the announcement before Wednesday night's series finale at San Francisco. Ottavino showed up at spring training looking different.
''He saw himself as a guy that could close out games at some point in his career,'' Weiss said. ''That was his goal, and he's worked hard to put himself in that position.''
LaTroy Hawkins was moved out of the closer job Monday after he blew a save a day earlier in a 6-5 loss to Chicago Cubs, surrendering Dexter Fowler's two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning.
Ottavino struck out the side in order in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's 4-1 victory over the Giants. It was the pitcher's second major league save and first since July 30 against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
''Otto's going to be the closer for now,'' Weiss said. ''I brought him in last night, he did a great job. That's how I'm going to use him.''
Weiss praised Ottavino's stuff as well as his maturity and experience to take on the ninth-inning duties.
A first-round pick by the Cardinals in the 2006 amateur draft, the 29-year-old Ottavino is in his fourth season with Colorado. Weiss said Ottavino has always been a great matchup option facing right-handed hitters but has developed the right pitches to get lefty hitters out, too, and ''he's very confident right or left.''
''I think it's been an evolution for him,'' Weiss said. ''He's gotten better and better. He's matured at the same time. I think he's ready to put games away in that ninth inning. The sheer stuff and the maturity, I think he's evolved into this type of pitcher.''
The Rockies saw it in spring training, when Ottavino didn't allow a run in eight Cactus League outings. He was 1-4 with a 3.60 ERA in 75 games last year, but began 2015 by striking out 10 of 19 batters and allowing only one hit, a walk and a hit batter over 5 1-3 scoreless innings.
MLB.com first reported late Tuesday that Ottavino will be the closer.
Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, who made his second rehab appearance Tuesday with Triple-A Albuquerque, is scheduled to make his first 2015 start Monday against San Diego at Coors Field. He has been sidelined with a strained left groin.