07/01/2003 9:45 PM ET
Chacon heads to 15-day DL
Righty shelved with tendinitis in his right elbow
DENVER -- Shawn Chacon, the National League leader in wins going into Tuesday's action, saw his chance to pitch in the All-Star Game end when the Colorado Rockies placed him on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right elbow.
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Chacon (11-4, 4.27 ERA) could not get his elbow loose during his last start Sunday, when he lasted just four innings and gave up six runs and six hits in a 9-0 Colorado loss at Pittsburgh.
An MRI on Monday revealed no structural damage.
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said the club made the move with Chacon in hopes of heading off a more serious issue.
Rookie right-hander Aaron Cook, who went 2-6 with a 5.63 ERA in 14 starts before being optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs on June 17, will start Friday night at Milwaukee in Chacon's place. Cook has pitched well in two minor league starts, including a complete-game, four-hitter in a 2-1 victory over Oklahoma on Friday night.
The Chacon move was retroactive to Monday, which technically means he will be eligible to return in time for the July 15 All-Star Game at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. But Hurdle said it is likely Chacon would pitch a minor league game just before the All-Star Game, which would put him in line to start one of the Rockies' first two games of a series at San Francisco after the break.
"Shawn is on the same page as us," Hurdle said. "We're talking about the big picture, he needs to slow this thing down, we need to shut him down, we need to get this arm back healthy for him, for us.
"If it has ramifications where he doesn't get invited to the All-Star Game, that's very unfortunate, 'cause his performance on the field has dictated an All-Star performance opportunity for him."
Chacon said he experienced pain and tightness after his previous three starts, a victory at Detroit and home-and-home wins over San Diego during which he gave up just five earned runs and struck out 16 in 20 innings. But the difference was the pain would subside a day before he would pitch.
But after he held San Diego to four hits and one run in a 5-1 road victory June 23, the elbow didn't respond for his start at Pittsburgh.
"Getting out of bed on Sunday morning, I noticed it was tight," Chacon said. "It was tight throughout the whole day."
Rockies head trainer Tom Probst said it wasn't until the Pittsburgh game -- when Chacon could not get the extra steam on his fastball when he needed it -- that the pitcher informed the team of the problem, which is centered on the flexor mass near the area where the tendon connects to the inner elbow.
Hurdle said the Rockies, 42-42 going into Tuesday night's game at Arizona, wanted to protect Chacon for the second half. But the timing of Chacon's injury also was convenient.
The Rockies have been carrying Ben Petrick as an extra position player since Friday, and were expected to send him to Colorado Springs on Tuesday to make room for starter Denny Stark, who made his 2003 debut after recovering from an upper back muscle injury. But Stark simply took Chacon's spot on the active roster.
Chacon said he didn't want to do a term on the DL, but he understood the roster situation.
"I told them if I could miss this next start, I knew I would be ready for the one after that -- five or six days' rest would have been perfect," Chacon said. "But I knew I didn't want to put them in the bind as far as roster stuff. I didn't want to be selfish."
Chacon, 25, entered the season 11-21 with a 5.35 ERA and uncertain of a big-league job after being sent down last August and not called back. But he won a rotation spot in Spring Training and has been the team's best pitcher. 2002 NL Rookie of the Year Jason Jennings has struggled and veteran Denny Neagle only recently returned to the rotation after missing the early going with an elbow injury.
If named to the NL roster as a reward for his strong first half, Chacon said he would like to go to Chicago and participate in activities even though the Rockies will not allow him to pitch. But he said the timing of the injury represents only a mild setback.
"It's not a devastating injury, not something to where I'm going to miss the rest of the season," Chacon said. "To me, it's just that I'm going to rest my arm."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.