04/24/2013 12:44 AM ET
Denver's cold temps affecting even the most brave
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
DENVER -- Last Tuesday, when the Rockies played in temperatures in the 30s, Mets hitters were greeted by the intimidating sight of left-hander Rex Brothers entering a game bare-armed -- no sleeves extending from his game jersey.
With the game-time temperature this Tuesday at 23 -- a record low for a Rockies home game -- it was doubtful Brothers would be so brave again. Brothers did have a cold-tub treatment before the game, but that may be his limit.
"When I got out of the cold tub, I thought I might have to ask 'Schulzie' [clubhouse operations director Keith Schulz] for a turtleneck today," Brothers said.
Truth be told, Brothers' bravery was a mistake.
"It snuck up on me," Brothers said. "Down there in the bullpen, you're kind of shielded from the wind and the cold. We're underneath, under the heaters.
"When I ran out on the field, I was like, 'Yeah, I should've worn sleeves. No doubt about it.'"
Closer Rafael Betancourt also went without the long sleeves.
Whatever the reason, hitters have to take notice, and probably wonder about the sanity of the pitcher. Manager Walt Weiss wouldn't put it past a relief pitcher to intentionally avoid the warmth.
"The bullpen guys are the offensive linemen of baseball; I don't know how they do it," Weiss said. "I wouldn't be out there with no sleeves.
"But I think it's just a feel thing. A lot of pitchers don't like throwing with anything on their arms. Even if it's 12 degrees out there, that's what they're going to do."
Rox call on Chatwood to replace injured Chacin
DENVER -- Right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who has shown vivid pitch action but spotty control during his brief Major League career, will have another chance Wednesday afternoon when he starts the final meeting of a three-game series with the Braves.
Manager Walt Weiss, whose team was swept in a doubleheader Tuesday in frigid temperatures at Coors Field, is hoping Chatwood, 23, can calm the hot bats of the Braves, who homered six times in Tuesday's doubleheader. Chatwood, who bounced between the Majors and Minors last season and went 5-6 with a 5.43 ERA with the Rockies, will start in the place of righty Jhoulys Chacin, who suffered a back strain on Friday night and is on the 15-day disabled list.
In three starts at Triple-A Colorado Springs, Chatwood is 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA and 17 strikeouts against four walks.
"He's had some good outings here lately," Weiss said. "He's a power arm. He's got good stuff. He's been throwing strikes down there. We look for him to give us a chance to win."
The Rockies chose Chatwood over left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who is 2-0 with a 3.31 ERA in three starts at Triple-A and would have been available for the game.
"Drew's coming along real well, still working on some things," Weiss said. "It's not a real easy decision but we decided to go with Tyler."
To make room for Chatwood, the Rockies are expected on Wednesday to option right-handed reliever Rob Scahill to Colorado Springs. Scahill threw three scoreless relief innings in Tuesday's first game, a 4-3 loss.
Helton feeling need to play despite forearm strain
DENVER -- Rockies first baseman Todd Helton said Tuesday morning he hoped to play the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader against the Braves, after suffering a left forearm strain Friday. But with temperatures in the 20s and no way to tell if they would rise or how much, manager Walt Weiss said Helton would "have a hard time talking his way into the lineup."
Weiss stood by his statement, not penciling Helton into the starting lineup for the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader. The Rockies dropped the first game, 4-3.
Helton has had a cortisone shot in the forearm and reported Tuesday he felt better, but it was still stiff and swollen. However, Helton, who overcame a 2-for-21 start and has brought his average up to .268, is conscious that having him unavailable leaves the team short a player.
"I gotta start doing something pretty quick or they're going to think about the DL," he said.
Weiss said he had not spoken to Helton on Tuesday morning.
"I haven't got the update, but we'll go game to game with him," Weiss said.
Jordan Pacheco started Tuesday's first game, and if Helton's absence is extended, it will mean more playing time for him. Last year, Pacheco started for large chunks at third base, when Chris Nelson was injured, and first, when Helton was out, and ended up leading National League rookies with a .309 batting average. A calm demeanor and a low-maintenance swing are his keys.
"You don't want to make it too big of a deal," said Pacheco, hitting .310 in 29 at-bats as a part-time player this season. "It's keeping fresh in the cage, doing extra work, doing early work, keeping your mind fresh."
Chacin expects to return to rotation at end of DL stint
DENVER -- Results from an MRI confirm that right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin has a mild back strain, along with a strain in a lat muscle. But Chacin played catch Tuesday and believes he can return to the rotation on May 5, the day he is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list.
Chacin (3-0, 1.46 ERA) suffered the injury after throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings of a 3-1 victory over the D-backs at Coors Field on Friday night. Chacin had suffered mild back spasms while lifting weights during Spring Training, and was stiff throughout his previous start in San Diego because he was uncomfortable on the hotel bed.
But Chacin believes the issue is manageable with exercise and flexibility work. He plans to travel with the Rockies to Arizona after Wednesday afternoon's game against the Braves. There, he will have warmer weather in which to rehab and rebuild his arm. If all goes well, he wants to make an injury rehab start on April 30, then return to the rotation May 5 at home against the Rays.
"It was not that bad, and today it felt really good," Chacin said.
Fowler contacts pal Heyward after appendectomy
DENVER -- Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler said he "reached out" to Braves outfielder Jason Heyward after hearing of his appendectomy Monday night, and hoped to visit with him after Tuesday's doubleheader with the Braves.
Heyward underwent the procedure at a Denver hospital.
During offseasons, Fowler, an Atlanta native, has worked out with many Braves players, and he and Heyward honed their swings together this offseason.
"I just told him anything he needs, I got," Fowler said. "I've known Jason for a long time. It's unfortunate. I'm praying for him."
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.