Fowler on the upswing against righties
Switch-hitter hopes triple off Garland portends good things
DENVER -- Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler has a simple answer to a difficult problem.
The switch-hitting Fowler began the year struggling from the right side, especially with sliders that jammed him inside. Fowler was hitless against right-handers until Sunday, when he tripled off the Padres' Jon Garland in the Rockies' 4-2 victory.
So what does Fowler do with the pitch that's mainly responsible for him going 1-for-9 against righties?
"Don't swing if it's a ball," said Fowler, who is 4-for-10 batting right-handed.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy said before Sunday's game, which Fowler didn't start, that he'd still get chances against right-handed pitching since Fowler had similar difficulty last year as a rookie and turned things around in the second half. Can one at-bat be a signal that he's arrested his difficulty early this year?
"You can hit all day in batting practice, but seeing it from a live arm is different," Fowler said. "The more at-bats, the more pitches I see -- that's what will get me locked in. It's great to have the manager with confidence behind you. You always have confidence in yourself, but for him to tell everybody that he has confidence in me is a booster."
Aggressive Gonzalez on his way back
DENVER -- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who suffered left hamstring tightness during Sunday's 4-2 victory over the Padres and had to leave the game, said Tuesday he felt fine as long as he didn't put too much stress on the leg.
"When I pull my leg up, it doesn't hurt," said Gonzalez, who took batting practice before Tuesday night's game with the Mets. "But when I have to push on the ground, that's when I feel it. It's not an awful pain, just a little weird feeling that you don't want to get worse."
Gonzalez said it's hard to have to sit. He was hitting .393, with hits in each of the first six games. Interestingly, he had no walks from the leadoff position. But he had just two strikeouts, so he was consistently getting strikes and putting them in play.
"If they throw me the ball around the plate, I know I'm going to make good contact," Gonzalez said. "I want to swing at good pitches, yet be patient at the same time. But if they are not going to be patient and try to get me early, I'm always going to be ready for those pitches.
"I know I have to walk. That's what a leadoff hitter does. But if they throw me the ball in the middle, I'm going to hit it and try to get a double, not only one base."
Injured pitchers Francis, Street play catch
DENVER -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy announced that left-handed starting pitcher Jeff Francis and right-handed closer Huston Street, both on the disabled list with shoulder stiffness, each had 25-pitch sessions of light catch on Monday.
Playing catch was the first step toward returning to a throwing program. Francis performed his session at Coors Field. Street had his at the team's training center in Tucson, Ariz. Because there have been several fits and starts with both players, the Rockies are not speculating on when they'll be ready to join the club.
Tracy also said reliever Taylor Buchholz, returning from Tommy John right elbow surgery, has thrown another batting practice session and continues to improve. The Rockies will meet soon to discuss a plan of action. He is not expected back until June.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.