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04/03/12 10:02 PM ET

Tulowitzki expects to play in finale Wednesday

Reports no trouble with elbow after Tuesday batting practice

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki wore a tight, white sleeve on his left elbow while taking swings in the batting cage on Tuesday and reported improvement with his sore left elbow.

Tulowitzki, hit on the elbow by a pitch from former teammate Ubaldo Jimenez on Sunday, said he will play in Wednesday's Spring Training finale against the Mariners at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. More important, he expects to be ready for Friday night's regular-season opener against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

"Today felt good," Tulowitzki said. "Tomorrow, I'm pretty sure I'm in there. I'll give it a go, and hopefully all signs point to being fine."

The ball came off Tulowitzki's bat with authority.

"I didn't feel any pain," he said. "It's obviously a little tight, so the amount of extension I'm getting isn't as much as it normally is. But with another two, three days of treatment I should have full motion."

Tulowitzki will protect the elbow with padding.

Scutaro to bat leadoff, Fowler second

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies are going with second baseman Marco Scutaro at leadoff and center fielder Dexter Fowler second when they open the season Friday night at Houston.

The duo entered camp penciled in reverse order, but Rockies manager Jim Tracy said all along they could be interchangeable. A rough spring that has seen Fowler hit .138 (9-for-65, two doubles, two home runs) with a .176 on-base percentage led to the change.

It's a different approach from last year, when Fowler struggled with strikeouts early and found himself in and out of the lineup. In June, Fowler suffered an oblique injury then was sent down to the Minors. He found his stroke only after he returned. He hit .245 with a .360 on-base before the demotion, and .286 and .367 after rejoining the club.

Tracy said the Rockies want to play Fowler, a strong defender in center, and want him to understand he'll have a chance to straighten out some bad swing habits that marred this spring.

"We're gaining on it with Dexter," Tracy said. "I don't want to put too much on his plate as he continues to try to get himself exactly where he wants to be offensively. Marco has done a really good job. He has a real understanding about that spot in the lineup.

"If it helps to create a comfort level for Dexter, to jump start him offensively, we can enhance ourselves very quickly. I don't want Dexter Fowler to worry about anything. In putting him in that state of mind necessitates that we put him down further in the lineup, that's OK, too."

Last year, Fowler hit better in the No. 2 spot (.273, .381 on-base) than in the leadoff hole (.268, .363).

Scutaro, obtained in an offseason trade with the Red Sox, isn't exactly burning up the Cactus League with his .200 batting average, but he has a .411 on-base percentage and his at-bats have been cleaner since a rough start.

Tracy has hit Fowler as low as eighth in the lineup at times this spring. Two young third basemen, Jordan Pacheco and Chris Nelson, enter the year in good shape offensively and could fit into the No. 2 spot if necessary.

Blackmon close to returning from toe injury

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, whose chance to compete for an Opening Day roster spot was scuttled by a right big toe injury, took batting practice Tuesday and hoped to be playing in games at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick complex soon.

Blackmon has been running, but not at full intensity. Blackmon, who hit .255 in his 27-game debut with the Rockies last season before a broken foot ended his year, had a strong start to the spring. However, his average dropped to .233, then he was hurt.

That opened the door for Tyler Colvin to earn that left-handed bench spot. Colvin carried a .385 average with three home runs and 18 RBIs into Tuesday's game.

"It's very frustrating," Blackmon said. "Everybody is excited to start playing some real games that count, and I'm just going to stay here and finish up my spring."

Blackmon hoped to play some games at Rockies camp later this week. He'll play at Triple-A Colorado Springs and hope to earn a promotion to the Rockies.

"I think [the swing] will come back in a couple of days and I'll feel like I did three weeks ago," Blackmon said.

Strained oblique lands Outman on DL

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A bout with food poisoning has resulted in an oblique injury for Rockies left-handed relief pitcher Josh Outman, who will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list.

"The food poisoning, there was a lot of vomiting and I really believe he strained his oblique," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He's been much better over the last couple of days but he hasn't been able to throw. We haven't been able to get him to the mound. So we're just going to err on the side of caution."

Outman, obtained from the Athletics in an offseason trade, was 0-1 with a 5.0 ERA in six appearances, but that included a couple of rough starts, a bout with triceps tendinitis in his throwing arm, and some good relief appearances before the illness.

The Rockies had planned on carrying eight relief pitchers and three starters for Friday night at Houston, then making a move that would allow them to activate veteran starter Jamie Moyer for his start Saturday against the Astros. Tracy said the Rockies instead would activate Moyer before Friday's game.

Another option was to add right-hander Alex White, a starter whom the Rockies converted to the bullpen late in camp to allow him to compete for a season-opening roster spot. White didn't make the team, with his 0-2 record and 6.19 ERA. Tracy said the Rockies are going to use White at Triple-A Colorado Springs as a starter.

The Rockies could call him up as a starter or a reliever if necessary.

"With what it is that we're trying to fix, regular work and logging innings is what's going to help to solve that," Tracy said.

Chatwood makes roster as reliever

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Several Rockies have lauded right-hander Tyler Chatwood, a starter for the Angels last year who couldn't break into the Rockies' rotation. The club agreed enough to carry him as a reliever, but Chatwood's performance Tuesday demonstrated his rough edges.

Chatwood, 22, gave up seven hits and four runs in 1 2/3 innings of Tuesday's 9-8 victory over the Mariners. The first hitter Chatwood faced, Carlos Peguaro, homered on a slider after he worked ahead in the count with his fastball.

Injuries to the Angels' rotation in the season's first month forced them to call up Chatwood, and he went 6-11 with a 4.75 ERA in 27 games, including 25 starts. This year, the Rockies can afford a break-in period in the bullpen. It's not uncommon to break in a young pitcher that way, and make him a starter later in his career.

"Let's wait and see what type of progression takes place as we go along," Tracy said. "In the early stages, we'll have to look for places for Tyler to pitch.

"He's a guy that can pitch longer innings because he's stretched out to do so. We're not really thrusting him in situations right out of the chute where he factors big-time into the outcome. We're hopeful as we go along, just like we did with [left-handed reliever Rex] Brothers [a rookie last year], we can get him into a position where we can strongly think about more."

Rockies claim pitcher Ottavino off waivers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Rockies claimed right-handed starting pitcher Adam Ottavino off waivers from the Cardinals on Tuesday and optioned him to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

The Cardinals selected Ottavino, 26, in the first round in the 2006 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Northeastern University. Ottavino has spent the last three seasons as a starter at Triple-A Memphis. His only big-league action came in 2010, when he went 0-2 with an 8.46 ERA in five games, including three starts.

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.