DENVER -- Waiting has been the hardest part for Matt Daley.The Rockies' right-handed reliever has been on the disabled list since June 4 with right shoulder inflammation, and the recovery process -- one that involves plenty of rest -- has been, at times, maddening. "It's by far the toughest thing I've had to do in baseball, is do nothing," he said. "My entire career, all you want to do is work your butt off, work hard, get to the big leagues and have a goal in mind. Now it's just, 'Sit around and wait.' It's mentally draining." After several weeks of next to no activity while allowing anti-inflammatory medicine to kick in, Daley progressed to shoulder-strengthening exercises and threw soft toss from about 60 feet for the first time on Wednesday. He is expecting to do the same Thursday. A throwing program from that point has yet to be scheduled, Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "We'll just kind of see how it responds from there," Daley said. Daley, 29, said he has experienced minor shoulder issues at other points in his career, "but this is probably as much as it's hurt." The right-hander, who made his Major League debut with the Rockies in 2009, was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on May 20 and had his sights set on being a key contributor out of the Colorado 'pen. Daley gave up just one earned run in his first four appearances, but hampered by the shoulder, he surrendered six earned runs over his last three, a span of two innings. "It's about getting up every day doing your rehab, knowing that it's going to get you back to where you want, Daley said. "But definitely mentally frustrating more than anything."
Tulo welcomes return of power stroke
DENVER -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki knows force must be one of the criteria on which his offensive performance is measured.Going into Wednesday night, Tulowitzki had hit .385 (10-for-26) in six games since the All-Star break. But until his three-run homer in the first inning of Tuesday night's 12-3 victory over the Braves, he had just four RBIs and had not homered since July 3. Still, it was Tulowitzki's team-leading 18th home run this season. "It was nice to contribute," said Tulowitzki, who also doubled in the game. "The game before, I had a couple of hits, and I had been throwing out some hits. But there is a difference when you're driving the ball and feeling like yourself. "It's no secret around here that if I play well, usually the team plays well. I know it puts a lot of added pressure on myself, but at the same time, that's how I want it." Center fielder Carlos Gonzalez also homered on Tuesday. The Rockies signed each to lengthy contract extensions to ignite the offense with their power. At times, they have pressed to their detriment. Manager Jim Tracy said the best way such players can avoid letting outside pressure affect them is narrow the game to something as basic as swinging at strikes. "You simplify it," Tracy said. "I don't think that just solely applies to Tulo or CarGo. That applies to us as a group in general offensively. Simplify. This game happens entirely too quickly for you to have a checklist of things. "As that guy gets to his balance point and starts down that hill and he's going to throw this ball at you, and you're going to try to get from A to B to C to D, by the time you get in between A and B, something should've already happened. C and D won't even make it into the equation. This is a reactionary game, not a game where you have the opportunity to go through a laundry list of things before you have to react."
Alfonzo earns way into starting lineup
DENVER -- Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo impressed manager Jim Tracy enough with his aggressiveness in his first three appearances since coming up from Triple-A Colorado Springs that he started on Wednesday night.Alfonzo was 2-for-7 with a run scored. Also, Alfonzo was trusted with rookie right-handed pitcher Juan Nicasio on Wednesday. There is not a lot of strategy to Nicasio. His fastball is ahead of his secondary pitches, and if he is hitting spots with that pitch consistently, he can be successful. With strategy being lower on the list of priority, Alfonzo can do what the Rockies need offensively. Alfonzo was placed in the No. 6 spot in the batting order. "I know one thing -- there's no fear at all. I think from the standpoint of him as an offensive player, I think he's going to the plate with the intent to do damage," Tracy said. "That's the impression I get from the body language, the type of swings that he's taken, of which there have been some very good ones against some good pitching in a few of those at-bats." Alfonzo, 32, spent parts of the previous five seasons with the Giants, Padres and Mariners. Happy for the opportunity after signing a Minor League deal with the Rockies this year, Alfonzo is hoping a simple, aggressive approach at the plate earns him playing time. "I just try to do the same thing I did in Colorado Springs, try to keep it gap to gap," said Alfonzo, who hit .319 with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs in 31 games at Triple-A. "This year, I knew I had to compete with a lot of guys. I'm so excited I'm getting this opportunity."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Nick Kosmider is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.