07/13/12 9:25 PM ET
Rutledge forced to borrow gear for MLB debut
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Helton lands on DL with hip soreness
DENVER -- Still battling right hip soreness, Rockies veteran first baseman Todd Helton landed on the 15-day disabled list on Friday.Helton played sparingly in the days before the All-Star break, although he did go 0-for-3 with a walk on Sunday at Washington in the final day before the midsummer recess. The hope was he would improve during the break, but that did not happen. Manager Jim Tracy said Helton (.235, seven home runs, 34 RBIs) will undergo further testing, which likely means an MRI. "Because he was experiencing some soreness, we did shut him down for several days prior to trying it on Sunday; it wasn't very good," Tracy said. "Beyond Sunday, there were going to be four more days where he could just rest. But he came in today and he's still sore. Now there needs to be some intervening involved to where we do anything and everything that we have to do to try to get to the very bottom of it." Helton's hip issues, which have surpassed longtime back problems on his list of ailments, have made it easier to play the sizzling Tyler Colvin (.305, 13 homers, 40 RBIs), either at first base or in the outfield. For Friday's opener of three games with the Phillies, Colvin started in right field and Michael Cuddyer, the regular right fielder, moved to first base. The Rockies called up infielder Josh Rutledge from Double-A Tulsa and started him at shortstop. Rutledge hit .306 with 27 doubles, three triples, 13 home runs and 35 RBIs in 87 games for the Drillers. Rutledge's presence allows the Rockies to use veteran Marco Scutaro at second base rather than shortstop.
Chacin feels good after tossing bullpen session
DENVER -- Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin's two-inning bullpen session on Thursday went well enough that he will face hitters at Coors Field on Tuesday afternoon.If all goes well then, Chacin, who hasn't pitched since May 1 because of a nerve issue in the right side of his chest, hopes to begin a Minor League injury rehab assignment. Chacin, 24, was expected to move into a leadership role on the staff, but pitching through injury he was 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in five starts before being deactivated. "Everything feels good, like it used to before; this is the best I felt since last year," Chacin said. Chacin was being mentioned as an All-Star Game candidate during the early part of last season, when he was 8-4 with a 2.71 ERA in his first 15 starts. But he battled forearm tightness and struggled for the rest of the season. He finished 11-14 with a 3.62 ERA. The Rockies were hoping he would regain health and consistency this year, but he struggled with problems from the start of Spring Training, and it took until mid-May to determine the exact nature of the injury.
Hernandez back behind plate for Rockies
DENVER -- Catcher Ramon Hernandez rejoined the Rockies' starting lineup on Friday against the Phillies after missing 42 games with a left hand strain.To open a spot for Hernandez, the Opening Day catcher, the Rockies placed catcher Wil Nieves on the 15-day disabled list with turf toe in his right foot. Hernandez hit .215 with four home runs and 15 RBIs before going onto the DL. In his absence, rookie Wilin Rosario became the starter and is hitting .247 but leading Major League rookies with 14 home runs. Rosario became a father Thursday. Manager Jim Tracy said both catchers would receive playing time but he didn't want to push Hernandez, 36, too hard initially. Hernandez also is a veteran who could be of interest to contending clubs between now and the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Veteran righty Ekstrom called up from Triple-A
DENVER -- Veteran right-hander Mike Ekstrom, who has pitched for the Padres (2008-09) and the Rays (2010-11), joined the Rockies after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Colorado Springs.Righty Tyler Chatwood (1-1, 7.62 ERA), who struggled with throwing strikes in a long relief role, was sent down to Double-A Tulsa, which had a rotation spot open. Ekstrom, 28, was 2-1 with a 2.64 ERA, 51 strikeouts and 15 walks in 47 2/3 innings with Colorado Springs. In 36 Major League games, Ekstrom is 0-3 with a 5.36 ERA, 36 strikeouts and 24 walks. Purchasing the contracts of Ekstrom and infielder Josh Rutledge, who had been at Double-A Tulsa, meant the Rockies had to clear a spot on the 40-man Major League roster. They did so by moving left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa (recovering from left elbow surgery) from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Players on the 60-day list do not count against the 40 players eligible for Major League service.
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.