ST. LOUIS -- Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin threw another bullpen session on Monday as part of his tedious road to recovery, but he found the change of scenery quite nice.For the first time in two months, Chacin, who last pitched on May 1 because of a nerve issue in the right side of his chest, traveled with the club. Lonely work in triple-digit temps at Busch Stadium is not normally cause for excitement, but Chacin was positively beaming. "It went really well. I threw a couple of curveballs and changeups -- no sliders, but it was nice and easy," Chacin said. "The next bullpen will be 45 pitches, using my curveball, slider, everything. "I'm really excited I'm on the trip, too. The last two months, I haven't flown with the team. Just being with my teammates, going out and eating, being in the clubhouse, I really like that." Trips to St. Louis seem to work for Chacin. The last time he was here, it was to see the noted vascular surgeon Dr. Robert Thompson, who diagnosed his problem. The Rockies had been operating under the assumption that the problem was in his shoulder. The injury is a key reason he went 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in five starts before going on the disabled list. Chacin would like to be active within two to three weeks. Since Rockies starters are limited to roughly 75 pitches in their four-man rotation, he might be able to return a little earlier than he normally would. He could return as a starter or, at first, as one of the piggy-back starter-types who take over when the actual starter reaches his pitch limit.
Friedrich's start pushed back by a day
ST. LOUIS -- Left-hander Christian Friedrich, hit hard on his right calf by a batted ball in his most recent start, against the Padres on Saturday, had his next start pushed back a day, and will pitch on Thursday night in the finale of the four-game series with the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie will start on Wednesday, manager Jim Tracy announced on Monday. San Diego's Logan Forsythe, the second batter in the top of the first inning on Saturday, hit a line-drive single off Friedrich's leg. Friedrich was able to fight through the pain, and finished with five strikeouts and no walks, holding the Padres to one run and five hits in five innings of the Rockies' 8-4 loss. The Rockies are working in a four-man rotation, which means that Friedrich would have one fewer day of rest than normal. That could become a factor if the pain in Friedrich's leg doesn't allow him to throw normally. It's possible the Rockies could delay his next start even more and use someone else on Thursday. "The most important thing is making sure I'm not changing anything to alter my mechanics, because that's how people start getting hurt," said Friedrich, who played catch on Sunday to keep his arm loose, anticipating that his schedule would be altered. "I'm seeing how it feels. I've played catch pretty well." Friedrich backed off from a running session and rode the exercise bike Monday before receiving treatment. The decision also allows a fourth day off for left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who was strong on Sunday -- allowing one unearned run in six innings -- in his return from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he pitched out of a five-man rotation. Pomeranz will start the opener of a three-game series in Washington on Friday night. Guthrie (3-7, 6.56 ERA) was the Rockies' Opening Day starter but was 3-6 in 11 starts at the time he was demoted and made a piggy-back reliever in the new rotation. Tracy said that Guthrie will not be under the same 75-pitch limit as the others in the current rotation. Tracy would not say if Guthrie is merely making a spot start or being given a chance to re-enter the rotation.
Veteran first baseman Todd Helton did not start on Monday, and told the Denver Post that he has a sore right hip.
Right-hander Juan Nicasio, who hasn't pitched since June 2 because of a strained left knee, faced hitters on Saturday, will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday and will take part in a simulated game on Thursday. After resting left fielder Carlos Gonzalez on Sunday -- a 2-0 home loss to the Padres -- manager Jim Tracy kept center fielder Dexter Fowler out of the starting lineup on Monday and said that the training staff was treating him for soreness in his left lat. Fowler entered the game late and batted in the eighth, grounding hard into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.
Fowler acknowledged that he was being treated but said the muscle problem was minor.Tracy also said that the Rockies are moving toward sending veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez on an injury rehab assignment. Hernandez hasn't played since May 23 because of a strained left hand. Gonzalez has asked for bench coach Tom Runnells to pitch to him during the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby. But Runnells, who missed two games because of a death in his family, hasn't decided if he will travel to Kansas City for the event.
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.