SAN DIEGO -- A Rockies starting rotation beset by injury and ineffectiveness will hope for lifts from right-hander Alex White on Tuesday night and left-hander Christian Friedrich on Wednesday afternoon in games against the Padres, Rockies manager Jim Tracy said on Monday. Both have been summoned from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
White, 23, made seven starts for the Rockies (2-4, 8.42 ERA) late last season after arriving from the Indians in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade. White was recovering from a middle finger injury that he sustained pitching in the Minors for the Indians.
White's performance was up and down during Spring Training, but he appears to have regained the consistency on his sinker and developed a slider. He has shown the form at Colorado Springs that led the Indians to select him in the first round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft. White was 1-2 with a 2.92 ERA, 21 strikeouts and eight walks for the Sky Sox.
After giving up 12 home runs over 36 1/3 innings pitching for the Rockies last year, White gave up no homers in 24 2/3 frames for Colorado Springs, in a league full of hitters' parks, including his home field.
The Rockies need help. The starters' 5.68 ERA is highest in the National League, and only the Red Sox (5.88) and Twins (6.73) are worse. The .308 batting average against is by far highest in the NL and second highest in baseball to the Twins' .322. Right-handers Jeremy Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin are out with shoulder injuries, and righty Guillermo Moscoso came up from Colorado Springs, posted an 11.57 ERA in two starts, and was promptly sent back to the Minors.
"Some unfortunate circumstances happened up here for me to be here," White said. "The thing is, it's just a good opportunity. I want to pitch well and be able to finish strong."
Tracy said he has talked with Colorado Springs pitching coach Bo McLaughlin and seen some of White's pitching on MiLB.com. The skipper sees a pitcher who is bucking for a Major League chance.
"He looks as under control as I've seen him look since we acquired him," Tracy said. "I don't see the violence at the end of his delivery, trying to get the ball to the glove side."
Friedrich, 24, the Rockies' top pick in the 2008 Draft, was 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA, 27 strikeouts, four walks and a .213 batting average against at Colorado Springs. Friedrich had not arrived in the Rockies' clubhouse as of Monday afternoon.
After Monday's game, the Rockies optioned right-handed reliever Edgmer Escalona (0-1, 8.53 ERA) to Colorado Springs to make room for White. The club will need to make another move to clear a spot for Friedrich on Wednesday.
Chacin placed on Major League DL
SAN DIEGO -- The Rockies rescinded the demotion of right-hander Jhoulys Chacin to Triple-A Colorado Springs when they determined that he has right shoulder inflammation. Chacin has been placed on the Major League 15-day disabled list.
The decision means Chacin (0-3, 7.30 ERA in five starts) still has a Minor League option. If he's not optioned this season, the Rockies can send him down to the Minors in a future year without exposing him to other clubs via waivers.
A drop in velocity and lack of action of his pitches out of his hand raised suspicions that Chacin was injured. In a meeting with manager Jim Tracy, Chacin said his pitches didn't feel right, but he didn't say he was in pain. An MRI revealed no structural damage, but the Rockies' staff has noted inflammation and will give that time to heal.
"We've got to get him quieted down so we can get him back out there and pitching," Tracy said. "It's in the shoulder/biceps area. It's not anything really specific, but there's some inflammation."
Chacin, in a statement through his publicist, said he will have time to figure out what's wrong.
"I don't know [what] the rehab process will be like, but the fundamental thing ... will be to strengthen both my shoulder and biceps with several exercises," Chacin said. "It is the very same thing that affected me during Spring Training, and that could be the cause behind my velocity being diminished.
"My arm has not felt the same way whenever I pitch. Not even my breaking pitches have had the same effect as they used to, and that could be a consequence of this weakness in my arm."
Guthrie could be nearing rehab stint
SAN DIEGO -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie could be nearing a Minor League rehab assignment.
Guthrie, who suffered a right shoulder injury in a bicycle accident on April 23, reported feeling fine after a bullpen session on Saturday. He played catch on Monday and will face hitters at Petco Park on Tuesday afternoon. If all goes well, Guthrie will head to the Minors, most likely Triple-A Colorado Springs.
The Rockies' Opening Day starter, Guthrie (2-1, 5.92 ERA) won his last start, when he held the Brewers to one run and three hits over seven innings in a 4-1 victory on April 22.
Manager Jim Tracy said Guthrie's session on Tuesday will be 30 pitches -- a warmup, 15 pitches, then a between-innings rest and 15 more pitches.
Outman close to being activated
SAN DIEGO -- Rockies lefty reliever Josh Outman threw his fastball from 91-95 mph, with most of them in the 93-94-mph range, during a rehab outing for Double-A Tulsa on Sunday. He was slated to throw on Monday before the Rockies make a decision about activating him.
Outman, who was acquired in a trade with the Athletics over the winter, suffered a strained right oblique at the end of Spring Training.
The Rockies hope Outman, who went 3-5 with a 3.70 ERA in 13 games of starting and relief duty for the Athletics last year, will help the bullpen as both a lefty specialist and as someone who can work longer stints.
With Outman close to being activated and the team calling up starters Alex White and Christian Friedrich, several pitching-staff decisions will be made soon. But one callup who might get a longer look is righty Carlos Torres, who threw two perfect innings with one strikeout during a weekend series with the Braves, manager Jim Tracy said.
Young expected to use full bereavement leave
SAN DIEGO -- Rockies utility man Eric Young Jr. is expected to miss the maximum seven games while on the MLB bereavement list, manager Jim Tracy said on Monday.
Tracy said the club has been in close communication with Young, whose grandfather suffered a stroke and is on a ventilator.
Third baseman Jordan Pacheco, who took Young's roster spot, was in the lineup against the Padres on Monday night. Pacheco hit .200 with the team at the beginning of the year before being sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs for regular playing time and experience at third base. While at Colorado Springs, he hit .433 (29-for-67) with three home runs, four doubles, three triple and 10 RBIs in 17 games.
Pacheco's presence, and that of utility man Jonathan Herrera, means the Rockies can allow regular third baseman Chris Nelson to rest his ailing left wrist. Nelson, hitting .230 in 20 games, sustained the injury while diving for a ball against the Pirates on April 25.
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.