CINCINNATI -- Veteran right-hander Roy Oswalt took another step toward being ready for the Majors by throwing seven solid innings for Double-A Tulsa on Tuesday night.
Oswalt, who signed with the Rockies on May 3 and is three starts into a five-to-seven-start tuneup before joining the Rockies, struck out five and gave up seven hits, including two home runs, in a 5-3 victory over Northwest Arkansas.
"I felt like tonight was as good as my last outing. I just gave up a couple more runs," Oswalt told the Tulsa World newspaper. "When you're through seven innings and thrown around 90 pitches, you know you're commanding your fastball. I felt good tonight. I felt strong."
Oswalt is 2-1 with a 3.50 ERA in 18 innings at Tulsa. He has struck out 14 and given up 14 hits and four walks.
Rockies pitching coach Jim Wright spoke Wednesday with Oswalt and Tulsa pitching coach Darryl Scott, and reported that Oswalt's velocity was not where it soon will be, but the way he adjusted was positive.
"No walks is the big thing, and he kept the ball on the ground with 11 ground-ball outs," Wright said. "He's building up still a little bit. His velocity should hit a little valley, then come back up. But he improvised with pitching.
"He used his sinker and his changeup. I'm not saying he didn't throw hard. He does. But I think he's in that building-up stage, which is good."
Oswalt, 35, is scheduled to throw again Sunday for Tulsa.
According to his contract, Oswalt can opt out June 18 or June 28 if not called up by the Rockies. The Rockies and Oswalt are in close contact, making sure that he's ready when the club decides to place him in the rotation.
Chatwood to miss next start; not considered serious
CINCINNATI -- Rockies pitcher Tyler Chatwood's MRI results were exactly as expected, a slight pinch of a tissue near his right triceps tendon, which means his next start will be pushed back. But Chatwood should not miss much time.
Chatwood (3-1, 2.14 ERA) was removed from Monday's game against the Reds after four innings. The team suspects he suffered the injury while reaching across his body to throw a fastball to the glove side in a hyperextension motion, and head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said the MRI confirmed that.
"It's actually the best-case scenario for the MRI," Dugger said.
The Rockies had already scratched his usual bullpen session, which would have been Wednesday. Dugger said Chatwood is unlikely to throw on Thursday, as well. The delay in his throwing routine all but guarantees that he will not start Saturday against the Padres at Coors Field, although no official announcement regarding Chatwood or his replacement has been made.
Dugger also said the Rockies looked at the elbow area, because Chatwood, 23, had Tommy John surgery at age 16, but there are no issues.
It's possible the Rockies can activate left-hander Jeff Francis (2-3, 6.00 ERA) from the disabled list. Francis is out with a slight left groin strain, but he threw 80 pitches in a rehab start Monday for Triple-A Colorado Springs at Salt Lake City. He is scheduled to pitch again Saturday at Reno, but that could be changed.
Herrera earns second straight start
CINCINNATI -- Starts are usually intermittent for Rockies infielder Jonathan Herrera, but after his three hits in Tuesday's 6-5 victory over the Reds, he found himself in the starting lineup again at second base Wednesday.
Herrera's hits included a two-run double. It was the second three-hit game this season for the switch-hitting Herrera, who went into the game hitting .276 with three doubles, a triple and six RBIs. Herrera entered batting .302 from the left side, and hit left-handed against Reds emergency starter Pedro Villareal, who was inserted when righty Johnny Cueto was placed on the disabled list due to a right lat strain.
"I had a good game and have an opportunity to be in the game again tonight," Herrera said. "I hope to do my best and help my team. I know it's not going to be like last night every night, but I want to do the little things -- play good defense, put the ball in play."
"He swung the bat real well last night, had some big hits for us, so we're going to ride him," manager Walt Weiss said.
Eric Young Jr. started in center field in place of Dexter Fowler. Weiss said Fowler was a little under the weather, but available if needed. The scratching of Cueto didn't affect the Rockies' lineup, Weiss said.
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.