SF@COL: Chatwood earns his first career save

DENVER -- The Rockies recalled right-hander Tyler Chatwood from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday to work out of the bullpen, opening the possibility that another of the team's top young pitchers, left-hander Drew Pomeranz, could start Sunday afternoon against the Padres.

To make room for Chatwood, the Rockies optioned lefty Edwar Cabrera -- who allowed seven runs, five earned, in his Major League debut Wednesday against the Nationals -- to Colorado Springs. Cabrera had spent the season at Double-A Tulsa before his Wednesday start.

Chatwood was slated to be the piggy-back pitcher for left-hander Jeff Francis on Friday night against the Padres. Under the Rockies' four-man rotation, Francis was to be limited to around 75 pitches, and Chatwood is the second starter-type who would pitch once Francis reached his limit.

"We have a guy up here tonight that has been starting and has been upwards of 100 pitches," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "Because of the use of our bullpen the last couple of days, a guy like this that would come in behind [Francis] has enough length to where, if need be, he could pitch for awhile."

Chatwood, 21, who pitched 142 innings, mostly a starter, last season for the Angels, began this season with the Rockies but was sent down after going 1-0 with a save and a 5.63 ERA in four appearances.

The Rockies wanted him to build up his pitch count to the starter level. Chatwood suffered a chest muscle injury shortly after arriving in Colorado Springs and has gone 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA in nine games.

"I was getting stretched back out, and I feel good about where my stuff is right now," Chatwood said. "It's just being able to throw every pitch for a strike. I was doing that a little inconsistent when I was up here at the beginning. That was out of the bullpen. I had never pitched out of the bullpen, but I'm back in starting realm."

Sunday would have been Cabrera's turn to start, but that was unlikely to happen. Cabrera had been pitching in a five-man rotation at Tulsa, and he would have had to throw on three days' rest. Tracy did not elaborate beyond saying that Sunday's starter is "still to be determined."

Pomeranz originally was scheduled to start for Colorardo Springs on Saturday night at Sacramento, but that has been switched to righty Alex White. That's a further sign that the Rockies are planning on starting Pomeranz on Sunday.

Pomeranz was 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five starts for the Rockies before the club sent him to Colorado Springs to work on regaining his proper throwing motion.

Pomeranz, 23, has over-matched Triple-A hitters with his ability, and he is reducing some of the high pitch counts that concerned the Rockies. He is 4-4 with a 2.51 ERA in nine starts. He last pitched on Sunday.

Colvin making bid for increased role

DENVER -- Tyler Colvin says he's not trying to prove anything with his eye-opening offense for the Rockies this season, but that could end up happening.

Colvin homered, tripled and singled twice in Thursday afternoon's 11-10 victory over the Nationals, and was in the starting lineup for the third straight game on Friday night against the Padres.

In his last six games, Colvin has hit .450 (9-for-20) with a home run, two doubles, a triple and eight RBIs.

With the Rockies well below .500 and seemingly in a situation where they have to evaluate young talent, it could be an opportunity for Colvin, 26, who came in an off-season trade with the Cubs.

"Everyone would love to be an everyday player, but I just come ready every day," said Colvin, who went into Friday with a .309 batting average, eight home runs and 29 RBIs. "If not, great. I'm not going to look ahead and try to play for that. I'm playing to help the team. We have a manager that makes decisions and it doesn't matter what I think. I'm an outfielder and I don't make those decisions.

"I've had some runs playing, five or six games in a row. I'm ready whenever my name is called, whenever I'm in the lineup. If it's an extended amount of time, great. If not, it's what I'm prepared for anyway."

Four of Colvin's last five starts have been in right field and first base, when the Rockies are resting veterans Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton. Colvin also has had some opportunities in center field when Dexter Fowler was slumping, but those aren't coming his way lately, because Fowler has had a couple of torrid streaks since late May.

Manager Jim Tracy calls Colvin one of the bright spots whose performance has been overshadowed by the struggles of the starting pitchers, which have contributed to the team's 29-46 record going into Friday night.

"There are a lot of things that are awfully right, and we have to keep moving forward and see if we can solve this [pitching] issue," Tracy said.

The start was Colvin's 31st in 73 games this season. It's a greater pace than last season, when he bounced between the Cubs and Triple-A Iowa and finished with 49 Major League starts. In 2010, when his 20 home runs were fourth-most for a Cubs rookie, he earned 81 starts.

Cabrera optioned to Triple-A

DENVER -- Left-hander Edwar Cabrera hadn't pitched above Double-A, his best pitch is a changeup, and he's in the early stages of developing a breaking ball, so maybe starting Wednesday for the Rockies was a stretch.

So after watching Cabrera give up seven runs, five earned, and three home runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Nationals on Wednesday night, the Rockies optioned him to Triple-A Colorado Springs.

"He's done what he needs to do at the Double-A level [at Tulsa], so we sent him to Colorado Springs to involve himself there and we hope to move along his progress," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "My conversation with him simply involved making sure he uses what took place [Wednesday] as a complete learning experience, don't put too much weight on it at all, don't shoulder any type of burden or feel like you let yourself down or the opinion of how we view you has changed.

"Quite the contrary. Just gravitate to the fact that it was a wonderful learning experience, and the importance of commanding and making pitches. Now take it to Triple-A, where the challenge would be a little bit greater than what it was when he was pitching at Tulsa."

Cabrera was 8-4 with a 2.94 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 98 innings at Tulsa.

Worth noting

• Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who hasn't pitched since May 1 because of a nerve injury in his chest, received high marks for a bullpen session he threw on Friday.

"My understanding is there was a lot more coming out today," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He is definitely progressing. I was pleased to hear that."

Chacin was expected to be a staff leader and possibly push his way toward stardom, but he was 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in five starts before the Rockies shut him down.

• Right-hander Juan Nicasio (2-3, 5.28 ERA in 11 starts), out with a left knee strain, will face hitters on Saturday for the second time this week (three innings, 45 pitches), and at some point will be scheduled for fielding practice to test the knee.