Gray, Butler making strides as regular season nears

DENVER -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss isn't afraid to admit that his pitching staff could use a shot in the arm. But that doesn't mean he's ready to place the pressure squarely on Eddie Butler's shoulders.

"We're not asking him to come in here and be the savior of the staff at his age," said Weiss.

The Rockies announced Tuesday that Butler, the No. 2 ranked prospect in the club's farm system, will be called up Friday from Double-A Tulsa to make his Major League debut in place of the struggling Franklin Morales. With the Rockies losing nine of their last 11 entering Wednesday's action, most outsiders hope this move will serve as just the type of jolt the team needs to get back on track. But ask around the clubhouse and the veterans will tell you a different story.

"I don't think the team looks at it as a shot in the arm or a boost or something," said Michael Cuddyer. "If he's going to go out there and pitch the way he's capable of pitching, I think it's going to be a boost performance-wise."

But no one on Colorado's 25-man roster knows Butler and the delicate balancing act between expectations and performance he will be faced with better than injured left-hander Brett Anderson. It's partly because Butler's locker was to his left in Spring Training and partly because Anderson has lived through what Butler is about to experience.

Anderson was MLB.com's No. 13 overall prospect when he made his Major League debut for an Athletics team in 2009 that was in desperate need of something to build off of. Yet unlike Butler, Anderson had the luxury of getting his feet wet with two other highly-touted prospects.

"I was fortunate enough where it was myself, Trevor Cahill and Gio [Gonzalez]," said Anderson. "We got to experience the ups and downs, the successes and failures together."

Now, Anderson feels it's his duty to pass what he learned from those growing pains on to Butler.

"I'm in a middle period where I'm not a veteran and not a rookie, so I can transition those guys and help them out a little bit," Anderson said.

As for advice, Anderson only had one thing to say: "Just be yourself."

"His stuff can play anywhere," said Anderson. "Obviously you're not going to come out and dominate every outing regardless of how good your stuff is though. So just trust in your stuff and the process."

After all, it's Butler's "stuff" that has Weiss believing the Rockies are making the right move.

"He's been very dominant at times over the last couple of seasons," said Weiss. "We knew he was a big leaguer, it was just a matter of when. And the time is now."

Pacheco DFA'd as Wheeler, McKenry earn callups

NYM@COL: Wheeler lines solo shot to right field

DENVER -- The Rockies' roster shuffling didn't end with placing left fielder Carlos Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with left index finger inflammation.

Colorado also designated backup catcher Jordan Pacheco for assignment, calling up third baseman Ryan Wheeler and catcher Michael McKenry from Triple-A Colorado Springs to fill the two roster spots.

Pacheco, who led all National League rookies in batting average in 2012, was batting only .236 across 72 at-bats in 2014. Although Pacheco has shown willingness to play around the diamond in the past, Rockies manager Walt Weiss acknowledged that a lack of available playing time was the reasoning behind the transaction.

"It's tough to have that type of meeting with Jordan Pacheco, who has meant so much to the organization and has been a constant professional," said Weiss. "He saw himself as a catcher and we did too, but he did a nice job filling in at some other spots over the last couple of years. Backup catcher doesn't get consistent at-bats typically. That's how it works and that's how it was with Jordan."

McKenry has been slow in regaining his form after the knee surgery that ended his 2013 season, but Weiss values his experience. McKenry was batting .313 with 12 RBIs in 29 games with Colorado Springs this season. It's McKenry's second stint with the Rockies after he went 4-for-19 with two doubles in eight games, including five starts, earlier this season.

With outfielder Corey Dickerson picking up a majority of the playing time left behind by Gonzalez, Wheeler was called up to replace him as the left-handed bat off the bench. He said Weiss didn't elaborate how much he'd be playing the field, but Wheeler had another role in mind: lucky charm.

"I told [Weiss], 'I feel like we're still on a winning streak here,' said Wheeler. "I left on such a good note. I told him hopefully I can bring back some of that energy we had when we were winning."

Wheeler was 2-for-4 in his three-day stint with the Rockies back in early May. One of those hits was a home run off Mets starter Jenry Mejia that sparked an eight-run fifth inning in the 11-10 victory.

Anderson, Chatwood making strides toward return

COL@SF: Anderson injures his finger, leaves game

DENVER -- Right-handed pitching prospect Eddie Butler, who is being called up from Double-A Tulsa for his Major League debut Friday night against the Dodgers, isn't the only pitching help that could be on the way to the Rockies.

Right-hander Tyler Chatwood (right flexor tendon strain) hasn't felt any ill effects from playing catch over the past week and is now shooting for his first bullpen session Friday. Left-hander Brett Anderson (broken left index finger) had the pins from his surgically repaired hand removed eight days ago and has already played catch six times since.

Chatwood is "shooting for" a late-June return. Anderson has learned to be less concrete with his timetables.

"It's kind of like the deal last year with my foot," said Anderson. "As soon as you set a goal or as soon as you set a date and then you don't hit that date, then you're just spinning."

"Unfortunately, I've been on the DL quite a bit so I've just learned to come in and take it day by day."