05/05/12 10:30 PM ET
Rox looking for options to patch rotation's holes
By Owen Perkins / Special to MLB.com
"Jeremy Guthrie was still somewhat tentative in his bullpen session yesterday," Tracy said on Saturday. "He was scheduled to throw to hitters today on the premise that if everything went well, he would take the start on Tuesday in San Diego. He is not going to make that start."
Without Guthrie, the Rockies' Opening Day starter, and Jhoulys Chacin, who was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Wednesday, the Rockies are searching for two starters to add to their rotation in time for Tuesday and Wednesday's games in San Diego. The Rockies sent Guillermo Moscoso back to Colorado Springs after a disappointing two starts in place of Guthrie.
Carlos Torres is already with the club as the corresponding move to Chacin's demotion, and he is a likely option for one of the Rockies' open slots. He was scheduled to start on Thursday in Colorado Springs, but missed that start and is available as soon as the Rockies need him. Torres was 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA and has pitched 25 innings over the course of five starts. Rockies starters have averaged just over five innings per start so far.
"Does [the lack of length from starters] grate on you a little bit? I'd be remiss if I said it doesn't," Tracy said of the situation. "We'll continue to work at this and get to the point where we get the group of people that are going to give us the consistent innings. For me, it's very safe to say that we've got a pretty good ballclub here if we can get to the point."
Other prospects in the Sky Sox rotation include left-hander Christian Friedrich (2-1, 3.00 ERA, 30 innings in five starts), the Rockies' first-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft; righty Rob Scahill (3-3, 6.00, 30 innings in six starts); right-hander Alex White (1-3, 2.92, 24 2/3 innings over five starts), and Tyler Chatwood (0-1, 3.48, 10 1/3 innings over three starts), who was sent down from the Rockies bullpen to build arm strength as a starter.
Friedrich is scheduled to pitch on Wednesday for the Sky Sox, which, paired with his success so far and his ability to average six innings per start, could make him a logical starter on Wednesday with Torres potentially taking the mound on Tuesday. He is recovering from a hamstring injury, and threw 75 pitches over 5 2/3 innings on Friday night after throwing five innings in his other start following the injury.
White was scheduled to start on Sunday, but the Sky Sox announced on Saturday evening that Edgar Gonzalez would be starting instead, a likely indicator that White is getting strong consideration to start Tuesday or Wednesday for the Rockies.
"They all are in play," Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said of the possible pitchers. "We haven't made a final decision. We just wanted as many options as possible."
Pacheco to fill in while Young is away
DENVER -- Eric Young Jr. left the Rockies on Saturday to go to Mississippi to visit with his grandfather, who suffered a "bad stroke," according to manager Jim Tracy. Young is on the bereavement list, which dictates missing a minimum of three games and no more than seven. He is expected to return to the Rockies on Tuesday in San Diego.
The Rockies recalled Jordan Pacheco from Triple-A Colorado Springs to fill Young's spot on the roster. Pacheco made the Rockies' Opening Day roster as an infielder and third catcher, after competing for the backup catching job in Spring Training and impressing the club with his bat.
Though he hit only .200 in 10 at bats with irregular playing time with the Rockies, he hit .433 (29-for-67) with four doubles, three home runs, and 10 RBIs in 17 games for the Sky Sox. Pacheco was sent to the Sky Sox on April 15 to give him regular playing time at third base and improve his instinctive reactions to batted balls.
"I'm not expecting him to be some type of miracle man," Tracy said of Pacheco. "He was in Triple-A to do some work and get some reps at third base. I'm sure it's very safe to say that there's probably still time necessary with regard to that. And if Eric Young Jr. hadn't had to go and do something that is definitely something that he has to do, Jordan wouldn't be here with us today. Jordan Pacheco is a piece that can make a contribution over the next few days in some capacity to help us win baseball games. That's why he's here."
Though Tracy clearly made it sound like a short-term callup for Pacheco, the infielder had not been given a clear indication of how long he was expected to remain with the club and was determined to make the most of the opportunity.
"Baseball's a game of repetition, and the more reps you get, the better off you're going to be," Pacheco said. "I got a few reps down [in the Minors], and we'll see what happens. Obviously, when you're playing a new position, you take things step by step. I'm glad I got to go down there and play every day and do what I needed to do."
Ottavino recalled to take Moscoso's place
DENVER -- Guillermo Moscoso impressed the Rockies by compiling a 3.38 ERA in 23 appearances for the A's last year, including 21 starts. Since coming to Colorado in a January trade for outfielder Seth Smith, Moscoso has not been able to replicate that success.
Recalled from Triple-A a week ago to take the injured Jeremy Guthrie's spot in the rotation, Moscoso was 0-1 with a 11.57 ERA in 9 1/3 innings over two starts. He had a disappointing Spring Training and was not off to a good start at Colorado Springs, but Guthrie's injury came on the eve of his scheduled start last Saturday, and Moscoso was the best option, given that it was his day to pitch.
"It boils down to lack of fastball command. Right now, there is none," manager Jim Tracy said of Moscoso's struggles since joining the Rockies. "He's still capable of making a contribution to the success of this club in 2012. But it's not going to happen until he gets to the point where he can throw his fastball for strikes and get ahead in the count. [In his Friday night start], he had virtually a 1-1 ball-strike ratio [43 strikes and 40 balls]. That's not acceptable, and I told him that. Until he gets to the point where we see consistency ... he won't pitch here."
To fill Moscoso's spot on the roster after he was sent down, the Rockies recalled right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino, whom Colorado claimed off waivers from St. Louis on April 3. He was optioned to Triple-A and, after working exclusively as a starter throughout his professional career, he has worked out of the Sky Sox 'pen, posting a 3.60 ERA in 15 innings over 10 games. Ottavino pitched in five games (three starts) for the Cardinals in 2010, going 0-2 with a 8.46 ERA.
"I had been [relieving] in Major League Spring Training for a few years, so I had a little bit of an idea," Ottavino said of what he called an easy transition to the bullpen. "Also, I'd done a little bit in college, so it's been good. I've felt good every time out. I'm enjoying it. I feel like I'm throwing pretty well and just trying to get better every time out."
Ottavino relies on a fastball/breaking-ball combination on the mound, mixing a slider, slurve, and a split-change in with his heater.
Tracy competes in local dog 'race'
DENVER -- A relaxed Jim Tracy arrived at Coors Field in jeans, a "Furry Scurry" T-shirt and what Jason Giambi referred to as an "On Golden Pond" hat -- an oversized sunhat more suited for casting flies than shagging them.
Tracy was returning from the Furry Scurry, an annual "race" with people and their dogs in Denver's Washington Park. Tracy competed with his beagle, Abbey, who turned 8 on Saturday. That's 56 in human years.
"It was a two-mile hike, and we get to that mile-and-three-quarters mark, and we're going along pretty good," the Rockies manager said. "All of a sudden, my leash started to get a little longer and there was all kinds of tension in it. I looked behind me and she was standing there looking at me. She quit. I had to carry her across the finish line. What a shame. She fell asleep while I was holding her, that's how tired she was."
Apparently, baseball is not the only sport in which a competitor can carry his teammates. Tracy said there were some 8,000 dogs participating in the annual event.
"I didn't know that many people in Denver woke up that early in the morning, No. 1, and I didn't know that they all had a dog," Tracy said. "I saw every breed, size, and shape."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. Thomas Harding contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.