6/11/2013 9:06 P.M. ET
MLB announces Rockies 'Tribute for Heroes' finalists
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
DENVER -- Major League Baseball and People magazine on Tuesday announced 90 finalists, three representing each club, for the "Tribute for Heroes" campaign, which recognizes and honors veterans and military service members.
Fans can vote online at TributeForHeroes.com on the finalists' stories, and one winner from each club will be recognized during the pregame ceremony leading up to the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field on July 16 on Fox. A "Tribute for Heroes" winner will be featured in the July 22 issue of People.
According to the announcement from MLB and People, the Rockies' finalists are:
David Altschuler, U.S. Air Force: Now in his 15th year in the Air Force, David Altschuler performs electronics maintenance on intercontinental ballistic missiles. The proud father of four, who lives at Minot AFB in North Dakota, is passionate about service. Before the historic flood of Minot in 2010, David helped evacuate residents, then personally took in two families left homeless by the disaster. He helped rebuild countless homes in the city, and this past year arranged a group of airmen to help rebuild the Minot Zoo. David is an active member of the Military Affairs Committee, which fosters positive interactions between the installation and local communities.
William Hess, U.S. Army: William Hess of Colorado Springs, Colo., has served 10 years in the Army, with two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. As Platoon Sergeant in a Combat Engineer Company, his primary job is finding and destroying IEDs to clear the way for follow-on forces. In August 2011, after roadside bombs struck three separate vehicles, William disregarded his own safety and, while under enemy fire, rushed to the aid of wounded soldiers. William has two sons, Aiden and Luke. Aiden has Down syndrome, and so William gives presentations about the condition to educate his peers and subordinates about the condition.
Richard Sanchez, U.S. Army: Despite facing multiple tragedies -- nearly losing his arm and watching his best friend die after being shot by an Afghan soldier, losing his mother to cancer and then breaking his back in a freak train accident back home -- Richard Sanchez may seem invincible. The awarded Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient is, however, very human. While rehabbing his arm, he volunteered as cadre at the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Carson in Colorado, where he lives. Richard is beginning to walk again, but must use a wheelchair for most activities. Amazingly, he maintains a positive attitude and desire to continue serving others.
Along with MLB and People magazine, a guest panel including General Peter W. Chiarelli (retired) and General John M. "Jack" Keane (retired) and players Justin Verlander of the Tigers, Nick Swisher of the Indians, Barry Zito of the Giants, Jonny Gomes of the Red Sox, Brad Ziegler of the D-backs, Chase Headley of the Padres and Craig Stammen of the Nationals assisted in the selection process for the 90 finalists
The "Tribute For Heroes" campaign supports Welcome Back Veterans (welcomebackveterans.org, powered by MLB.com), an initiative of Major League Baseball and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, which addresses the needs of veterans after they return from service. Major League Baseball has committed more than $23 million for grants to hospitals and clinics that provide post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) treatment to veterans and their families in a public/private partnership with "Centers of Excellence" at university hospitals throughout the country.
As part of its 2013 charity initiative, "PEOPLE First: Help America's Veterans," People magazine is partnering with Welcome Back Veterans and three other nonprofit organizations that are committed to providing assistance to military men and women, and will feature them in multiple editorial stories in People magazine throughout 2013.
Welcome Back Veterans funds programs at The University of Michigan, Rush University Medical Center, Duke University, Emory University, Weill Cornell in New York City, UCLA and the Boston Red Sox' Home Base Program at Mass General Hospital in Boston. These institutions are developing new programs and strategies to improve the quality, quantity and access to PTSD and TBI treatment for veterans, particularly those returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Great at-bats earn Colvin start against Nats
DENVER -- Strong at-bats in late-game situations in his first two games since being called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs earned Tyler Colvin a start in right field Tuesday night against the Nationals.
Colvin went 0-for-2 with an RBI groundout and a hard line-drive out with the potential tying run on base Saturday against the Padres, and his ninth-inning RBI single was part of a three-run inning that sent the game into extra innings on Sunday. The Rockies won, 8-7, in 10 innings.
With Michael Cuddyer nursing bruised ribs, Eric Young Jr. started the games against the Padres. Colvin got the nod Tuesday.
"Every hitter in this clubhouse wants to be the guy up in those spots, and I'm fortunate enough to have all four at-bats with men in scoring position," Colvin said. "Just to know they have the confidence to put me in those at-bats is huge, and I'm happy I'm able to be here and help out in those times.
"We haven't gotten into a big discussion about it, but I would imagine it's the same role I was in last year. With Cuddy a little banged up, I could start against the righties [like the Nationals' Dan Haren on Tuesday], and against lefties [the Padres started Eric Stults on Saturday and Clayton Richard on Sunday], they'll get 'E.Y.' in there and let him do his thing."
With Cuddyer figuring to get regular starts when healthy, Colvin and Young can help the Rockies' bench. Colvin provides power and solid hitting. Young can be used as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner. Colvin can play all three outfield spots, as well as first base.
"Tyler has done great in the short time he's been here," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's squared up some balls that didn't get through and drove in a run with another single. He's taken some very good at-bats.
"It was a tough situation. I'd have been upset, too [at being demoted]. He's a big league player that just got caught in a tough situation."
De La Rosa expected to be ready for next start
DENVER -- Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa pitched through a small cut on his left middle finger in his last start, a 10-9 Rockies victory over the Padres at Coors Field, but expects to be fine for his start Wednesday night against the Nationals.
De La Rosa (7-3, 3.38 ERA), who has been the Rockies' most consistent pitcher this season, gave up 11 hits and four runs in his last outing, but didn't figure in the decision.
"It's fine -- I didn't have to put anything on it," De La Rosa said. "It's healing."
Just in case De La Rosa can't pitch Wednesday, the Rockies have summoned right-hander Chris Volstad to Denver from Triple-A Colorado Springs, but haven't activated him.
Cuddyer continues to deal with rib pain
DENVER -- Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer admitted the bruised ribs on the left side still hurt, but he believes it isn't the type of injury that will force him to the 15-day disabled list.
Cuddyer, hurt in a collision at first base at the end of Thursday night's 12-inning loss to the Padres, underwent an MRI that didn't reveal any muscle damage. The bruises are to the fifth rib and part of the sixth, which means it's high enough on the rib cage to make breathing painful.
"It's bruised ribs, so it's basically just pain tolerance," Cuddyer said. "It's going to be sore for a while, but knowing it's not an intercostals strain, I can't hurt it swinging, throwing like a pulled muscle has allowed me mentally to just go out there and at least perform."
Cuddyer hit, threw and ran Tuesday afternoon and took full batting practice. Manager Walt Weiss started Tyler Colvin in right field against the Nationals. Weiss said Cuddyer was available, but he was trying not to use him so he'd have another day to heal.
Rockies hopeful Chatwood can start Friday
DENVER -- Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who suffered a slight injury to tissue at the back of his elbow on June 3 in his last start, reported feeling good while using all of his pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday. The Rockies are looking to start him Friday against the Phillies, and how Chatwood feels Wednesday will go a long way toward the final decision.
Chatwood (3-1, 2.14 ERA) suffered the injury when he hyperextended his arm throwing a fastball to his glove side. He said the arm responded well Tuesday when he threw similar fastballs, and when he threw his slider. The Rockies removed him after he gave up one run in four innings, and he ended up with the decision in a 3-0 loss to the Reds.
The Rockies' treatment of him then and since has been precautionary.
"I wouldn't say concerned, it was just more annoying," Chatwood said.
The Rockies also have listed struggling left-hander Jeff Francis (2-4, 6.30 ERA) as starter Thursday against the Nationals. Some speculated whether Francis would stay in the rotation after he threw 93 pitches in four innings and gave up four runs and six hits in a loss to the Padres on Saturday.
Some of that speculation centered on the passable numbers that veteran former All-Star Roy Oswalt, signed on May 3, has put up in four starts at Double-A Tulsa (2-2, 2.88 ERA, 18 strikeouts, six walks). But Oswalt, who can opt out of his deal if not brought to the Majors on June 18 or June 28, is still building arm strength. Oswalt is slated to start for Tulsa on Friday.
As Escalona hits DL, Outman called back up
DENVER -- Rockies left-handed relief pitcher Josh Outman chalked up his demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday to bad luck. The team needed to add an outfielder and could easily subtract Outman because he has a Minor League option.
Outman's luck didn't stay bad long.
Right-handed pitcher Edgmer Escalona left Sunday's game in pain, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday after an MRI Monday revealed inflammation in the right elbow. Escalona (1-2, 4.18 ERA) was bothered by elbow soreness for a week or more before Sunday.
Outman (2-0, 4.94 ERA), had two scoreless outings before the demotion. By sending him down, the Rockies were able to recall outfielder Tyler Colvin. Normally, a player has to stay in the Minors for 10 days after a demotion, but the Escalona injury allowed the Rockies by rule to recall Outman.
"There's a lot more fluidity in this game than most jobs," Outman said, smiling. "Sometimes things take forever to play out and sometimes it happens in 48 hours or less. I went to the Springs, threw a bullpen session, watched the game on Sunday and found out I was coming right back. Sometimes it works out."
Outman, who has been valuable as a middle relief change-of-pace when the Rockies start a right-hander, said he wants his performance to be above reproach.
"There are always things I can improve on and plan on improving on, and that was also conveyed to me," Outman said. "But when it comes down to it, that's how the game works sometimes. You roll with the punches."
• Colorado Springs catcher Matt McBride, who led all Minor League players with 31 RBIs and an .811 slugging percentage in May, has been chosen the Pacific Coast League winner of the Topps Player of the Month Award. The Topps Company, in conjunction with Minor League Baseball, announces the winners.
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.