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Staying patient and staying the course just

got easier for Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino.

After signing a three-year, $10.4 million contract extension Monday, the right-handed reliever said the Rockies have provided him with a comfort zone as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. It was the Rockies, Ottavino said, who initiated talks about a new deal.

"I have been playing for a really long time and I've never had anything more than a one-year situation," said the 30-year-old Ottavino. "So it feels good to know that coming back from the injury that I don't have to be back by a certain date.

"I won't come back until I'm ready, whether that's late in the year or early, or whenever. I'm going to do what's best for my arm. I think that's ultimately what's best for the team as well."

Coming back from Tommy John surgery usually takes 12-18 months, but Ottavino stressed that there is no specific timetable for his return from the elbow surgery he underwent May 7.

"I think there is just no telling, really, when I will be back," he said. "To put a timetable on it is unrealistic at this point. I feel great. I'm at seven months, and change, from the surgery. I have been throwing and I feel really confident and really strong that I am going to be totally fine.

"That being said, the only thing I know for sure is that I won't be breaking (spring training) with the team. But beyond that, we are just going to kind of see how it goes and take it one day at a time. Obviously, selfishly, I want to get back as soon as I can, because I want to play again."


Ottavino emerged as an excellent closer for a short stint early last season. In 10 games (10 innings) he allowed no runs, three hits, walked two and struck out 13. Opponents were hitting just .094 against him when he went on the disabled list on April 27 with right triceps inflammation. A week later it was determined that he needed season-ending elbow surgery.

Despite the injury, the Rockies clearly have faith in the right-hander's future.

"We believe in him, we believe in his rehab progress," Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said. "We believe that the risk was a good one, based on his talent, his health prognosis and the shared interest in an extended deal."

Under his new contract, Ottavino will make $1.3 million in 2016, $2.1 million in 2017 and $7 million in 2018. There are no incentives or bonuses in the contract.

"I really wasn't expecting anything," he said. "I just figured after I got the surgery that I was just going to go year to year and kind of see where it ended up. (The Rockies) came to me about a month ago and I was really surprised, but I didn't really think it was going to go anywhere. And then, as time went by, it just got more and more realistic."

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Ottavino first began throwing 16 weeks after his surgery and then, following the Rockies' strict protocol, was shut down. Now he's begun throwing again, from 75-90 feet.

"I'm going to kind of build it up slow," he said. "I'm going to report to camp early this year and go with exactly what what our trainers tell me to do. Hopefully that progression goes smoothly and I can get back up on the mound sometime in the near future."

Based on what other pitchers have experienced following Tommy John surgery, Bridich has said that Ottavino could return to the big-league club by June or July. But that's a very flexible timeline and Ottavino said he won't rush.

"The one thing I have learned is that everybody's experience is a little different, so I'm not going to try and compare myself to anybody too much," Ottavino said. "I'm just going to try and work as hard as I can and get in the best shape I can and see what happens. I mean, I don't want to get my hopes up early for something that might not happen. I'm just confident that it's going to go well because so far it's gone better than I ever expected."

Patrick Saunders: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or @psaundersdp

Browse photography at Denver.Gallery.