DENVER --The right thumb injury that plagued Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez in his Opening Day start against the D-backs is making good progress, but the status for his next scheduled start, Friday at Pittsburgh, is still in doubt.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy said the team hopes to have Jimenez, who gave up six runs (five earned) in six innings in a 7-6 loss to the D-backs last Friday, throw a bullpen session Wednesday to test the cuticle injury on his right thumb.
"There's the possibility that we're going to do that if the finger is exactly where we want it to be," Tracy said. "His finger looks much, much better, no question about it. Yet we don't want to push it to the point where we take major steps backwards just in playing catch where we irritate it and pull [the cuticle] back again."
Jimenez had a similar cut to the cuticle on his pitching thumb during Spring Training and he missed a start, but that injury became infected while the current cut did not.
If Jimenez is unable to start Friday, Tracy said left-hander Jorge De La Rosa would start in his place.
De La Rosa would be on his regular rest because the Rockies' game against the D-backs on Sunday was postponed due to rain and snow.
"We've made great strides [with Jimenez], so we'll wait and see," Tracy said. "But if there's any doubt in our mind, we're going to err on the side of caution."
Smith sore but will be 'good to go' for finale
DENVER -- Rockies right fielder Seth Smith was sore from running into a wall to catch a fly ball and would not have been in the lineup had Sunday's game with the D-backs not been called because of nasty weather. Manager Jim Tracy didn't put him in the lineup Tuesday, because of nasty Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw.
"Seth's fine," Tracy said. "He'll be good to go tomorrow, and I think because we're dealing with this situation with this particular starter [Kershaw], could I have penciled him in tonight had the circumstances been a little different? Absolutely."
The left-handed-hitting Smith, however, has no fear of difficult left-handers.
Smith entered this season with a career .197 average vs. lefties. But he went 7-for-19 (.368) in Cactus League games against left-handers. This year, in his lone at-bat against a lefty, he welcomed D-backs reliever Joe Paterson to the Majors with a first-pitch double off the left-field wall.
"I don't think about it," Smith said. "I want to be in the lineup every time we have a game. Outside of that, I don't think about anything but showing up at the park and either getting ready to start or, if not, getting ready to do what I can to help the team win."
Smith said he was still sore from the catch and crash on the fly ball by the D-backs' Chris Young in the Rockies' 3-1 victory on Saturday, but "not enough to affect anything."
Rox welcome extra rest from postponement
DENVER -- Extra days off are rare during a Major League season, so the Rockies, who had two days off between games after Sunday's contest against the D-backs was postponed due to rain and snow, tried to take advantage.
Center fielder Dexter Fowler, who made a quick trip to Atlanta to see his family during the time off, said any extra rest during the season is welcomed.
"It's a good break, a well-needed break," Fowler said. "It gives you a jump-start to come back strong. You just want to come in with a clear mind and get ready to get the game started."
The postponement also provided the Rockies' bullpen and extra day of rest, which made every reliever available for Tuesday night's game against the Dodgers.
Movin' on up: Lopez climbs to fifth spot
DENVER -- Jose Lopez's early performance at the plate has had him on the move in the Rockies' lineup. After homering out of the No. 7 spot on Opening Day against the D-backs, Lopez batted sixth the following day.
Tuesday's game against the Dodgers brought another move for Lopez, as he was slated to hit fifth behind Troy Tulowitzki, giving the Rockies a pair of right-handed hitters in the middle of the order to face Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw.
Lopez was also in the lineup batting fifth and playing third base for Sunday's game against D-backs lefty Joe Saunders before the contest was eventually postponed, illustrating a plan for the lineup Rockies manager Jim Tracy can go with this season when facing left-handed pitchers.
Lopez, who will start his third game at second base, also has the ability to play third base, the position occupied in the starting lineup on Tuesday by Ty Wigginton.
Lopez and Wigginton were well prepared during Spring Training to play multiple positions. Wigginton played first base (21 innings), second base (11), third base (47), left field (21) and right field (nine), while Lopez split time between second (95) and third (22).
Nick Kosmider is an associate reporter and Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.