Big League Stew

Colorado Rockies sign Jon Garland, fill out starting rotation with fifth ‘J’ pitcher

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(AP)

The dream has become reality: With the signing of right-hander Jon Garland on Sunday, the Colorado Rockies have created an entire starting rotation of pitchers whose first name starts with the letter "J."

Jhoulys Chacin, Jeff Francis, Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio preceded Garland, who was cut by the Seattle Mariners on Saturday after they told him he would not make the team out of spring training. He posted a 2.25 ERA in four Cactus League starts for the M's.

The key to Garland's success is his sinking fastball. Thomas Harding of MLB.com writes that the Rockies were looking at Garland before Seattle signed him:

The Rockies eyed Garland because of his career 1.31 groundball-to-flyball rate. Rockies scouts had Garland's rate this spring at around 1.7.

That's good, right? Anything to keep a World Series champ from the 2005 Chicago White Sox in the league. If someone out there needs a third baseman, Joe Crede is available.

But the Rockies just want someone to give them dependable innings. And whose first name starts with the same letter as their other starters. Sorry, Drew Pomeranz.

Several major league teams have three starters whose names start with the same letter, and a few even have three that start with a "J." But no rotations are complete like Colorado's. Garland makes them whole.

Garland, 33, did not pitch in 2012; He was recovering from shoulder surgery after making nine starts for the Dodgers the year before. He's got a 4.32 ERA (a little better than league average) in 330 career starts, covering nearly 2,100 innings. His best season, by far, came in 2005 with the White Sox, when he won 18 games with a 3.50 ERA and three shutouts to lead the league. He also pitched well in two postseason games, including Game 3 of the World Series.

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