MIL@COL: Chatwood beats Crew with pitching, hitting

NEW YORK -- Tyler Chatwood will not start Thursday's series finale against the Mets, and is instead headed to the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow.

The team made the announcement after Wednesday's 5-0 loss to New York. A replacement will be named Thursday morning.

This is the second injury Chatwood has sustained this week, though it's more serious. During his sprint work Saturday in Pittsburgh, Chatwood experienced left hamstring tightness. The team scratched him from Tuesday's start, choosing to give him extra rest.

If there were no other setbacks, the plan was for him to start Thursday.

Colorado manager Walt Weiss said Chatwood threw a bullpen session on Wednesday to test the hamstring, but another problem cropped up.

"He came in today and he had inflammation in his elbow," Weiss said.

Chatwood has been one of the Rockies' most reliable starters this season. The 23-year-old is 7-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 15 starts.

This isn't the first time this season Chatwood has experienced pain in his arm. He was taken out after four innings during his start against the Reds on June 3 because of soreness in his right triceps. He was given extra rest and made his next start on June 15, but he didn't need a trip to the DL.

The Rockies are currently 1-8 since leaving Denver last week and have dropped four straight games, but they would've had one of their top pitchers on the mound to try and stop the skid.

"Tyler's been real good. When it rains, it pours," Weiss said. "That's a guy you'd love to run out there when you're struggling like we are."

Francis recalled, giving Rockies 13 pitchers

WSH@COL: Francis strikes out eight over six innings

NEW YORK -- Having placed Carlos Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list, the Rockies on Wednesday recalled left-hander Jeff Francis from Triple-A Colorado Springs to fill the open roster spot.

Colorado manager Walt Weiss said Francis, 32, gives the Rockies a much-needed arm out of the bullpen. With the Rockies this season, Francis was 2-5 with a 6.63 ERA in 12 games, 11 of which were starts.

"We've been a little shorthanded," Weiss said. "But going back home, Jeff bumps us back up to 13 pitchers. It'll be good to see him in that role."

Francis has had two stints in Triple-A this season, going 2-2 with a 4.34 ERA in 11 games -- including six starts.

The Rockies first sent Francis down on June 20, then recalled him on July 28. But he was optioned to Colorado Springs again on Aug. 1 to make room on the roster for pitcher Chad Bettis.

Now he's back because the Rockies were in need of another reliever. Weiss said Edgmer Escalona, who dealt with a sore left calf after being hit with a line drive Thursday in Atlanta, was sick and couldn't pitch.

"The previous days he was dealing with that comebacker," Weiss said. "But yesterday he was sick. He was sick on the off-day and then yesterday. He wasn't even here, he didn't come to the park."

Wilton Lopez had to pitch two innings in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Mets.

Healthy Helton getting regular playing time

COL@PIT: Helton smacks a two-run single up the middle

NEW YORK -- While Walt Weiss is still going to make sure to give Todd Helton occasional rest, the Rockies' manager said he's prepared to have his first baseman in the lineup consistently.

"I think he's swinging the bat pretty well, and he's feeling good," Weiss said. "If he's feeling good, I'm going to go ahead and run him out there. Within reason, I'm still going to take care of him [with] certain day games and that type of thing."

Helton is hitting .258 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 83 games this season. He also has a .327 on-base percentage. He missed time earlier in the season when he went on the disabled list with a left forearm strain.

Helton, 39, has also dealt with a balky back for a long time, and tweaked it when he pinch-hit in Saturday night's loss to Pittsburgh. He had been in the starting lineup for eight straight days leading up to that game.

Weiss said the fact that this could be Helton's final season doesn't factor into the decision of whether he's going to play or not.

"If he wasn't real healthy, he wouldn't be out there regardless," Weiss said. "But the fact that he's feeling good is why I'm running him out there."

Carlos Gonzalez's trip to the 15-day disabled list makes having Helton's bat in the lineup regularly even more important. Without any setbacks, that's going to be the case.

"As long as he's feeling well," Weiss said, "he's going to get a lot of time."