DENVER -- Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez produced in mid-April when was not sleeping, having trouble breathing and his throat hurt like it never had."I had a really good night against [Giants pitcher Tim] Lincecum, and the next day I was feeling really bad and I scored two important runs," Gonzalez said. "I was feeling good at the plate, but not feeling good physically." Strep throat ended up costing Gonzalez three games, and it took about a week for him to gain the strength back to pound opposing pitchers. Since April 24, when he hit two home runs against the Pirates at PNC Park, Gonzalez is hitting .412 (14-for-34) with seven home runs and 18 RBIs, plus an on-base percentage of .500. The Rockies have called upon Gonzalez, 26, who won the National League batting title in 2010 and managed a .295 average and 92 RBIs last year despite missing extensive time with wrist injuries, to become more of a leader. But Gonzalez is a soft-spoken type. So he lets his hitting do the speaking for him. "I'm seeing a lot more pitches," Gonzalez said. "I'm swinging at the right pitches. My hands are feeling well. When I feel that way, I feel I can hit any pitch. It doesn't matter what they throw me, if it's near the strike zone and I get a good swing, good things are going to happen." Manager Jim Tracy is as entertained as anyone. "I'm really anxious to see what unfolds during this homestand, where does it go?" Tracy said. "If it continues, this would become one very scary hitter to have to deal with in any given situation, depending upon the score of the game. "He becomes a monster, like I referred to the center fielder of the Dodgers [Matt Kemp]."
Giambi saddened by news of Rivera's injury
DENVER -- Rockies power hitter Jason Giambi was shocked like everyone else Thursday when his former teammate, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, suffered a season-ending knee injury while shagging fly balls in the outfield during batting practice.The 2012 season was expected to be Rivera's last, but early indications are the right-hander -- arguably the greatest closer in baseball history -- wants to fight his way back next season. "When I first heard about the injury, I was really sad, because I know how hard he works," Giambi said. "He means so much to that team.
"But I guess if there is any bright side, it's that he's coming back next year. I know he wouldn't want to go out like that."
Guthrie throws bullpen, could return Tuesday
DENVER -- Jeremy Guthrie threw a touch-and-feel bullpen session Friday, and the right-hander will face hitters at Coors Field on Saturday.The hope is Guthrie, currently on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury that he suffered in a bicycle accident, will return to the mound Tuesday night at San Diego, Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. The Rockies usually ask injured players to complete a Minor League injury rehab assignment. However, Guthrie (2-1, 5.92 ERA), who last pitched in a game on April 22 and suffered the accident April 28, was throwing within three days of being hurt. That means he didn't lose conditioning in his arm. In another move, the Rockies called up right-hander Carlos Torres from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he was 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA in five starts. Torres, 29, will serve as a long man out of the bullpen, but he could get the start against the Padres on Tuesday if Guthrie is not ready.
Outman brings the heat in rehab outing
DENVER -- Rockies left-hander Josh Outman, rehabbing a right oblique strain that has kept him out of the Majors this season, reached 97 mph during a two-inning rehab stint on Thursday for Double-A Tulsa, according to manager Jim Tracy.Outman threw 25 of his 36 pitches for strikes, giving up a run on two hits, with three strikeouts and one walk. "I understand he was electric in the first inning and started to get a little bit tired toward the end of the second inning," Tracy said. "The two hits were more of the seeing-eye variety." Tracy said Outman will pitch on Saturday and Sunday for Tulsa before being evaluated. Outman, 27, went 8-8 with a 3.75 ERA in starting and relief duty for the Athletics over the last three seasons. The Rockies see Outman as an important bullpen piece -- a power arm who can either face select left-handers or pitch multiple innings.
Injured Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa, who is working out at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Ariz., said he was pleased with his first outing and was looking forward to pitching in a game again. He will fly out of Arizona on Sunday and pitch Monday for Class A Advanced Modesto.
"Things are going great," De La Rosa said. "I feel good. No problems so far. I just have to keep on pitching."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Jesse Sanchez contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.