DENVER -- As expected, Tyler Chatwood rejoined the Rockies on Sunday to start in the series finale against the Giants in place of Christian Friedrich, who went to the disabled list Friday with a stress fracture in his lower back.
Chatwood was a Spring Training finalist for a rotation spot that was ultimately won by Jamie Moyer, but he broke with the Rockies as a reliever on their Opening Day roster. He made seven appearances in two stints with the club this season, going 1-1 with a save and a 7.62 ERA. He has been in Triple-A Colorado Springs and Double-A Tulsa the rest of the season, compiling a combined 1-3 record with a 4.70 ERA in 13 starts.
"He's had a couple of very solid starts with Tulsa in Double-A," manager Jim Tracy said Sunday. "Quite frankly right now at this juncture he is probably the best option."
The 22-year-old right-hander made 25 starts and two relief appearances for the Angels last season, giving Tracy confidence in his poise and composure with a return to the Majors.
"It's not like we're introducing yet another completely novice kid to the Major Leagues," Tracy said. "He has Major League innings under his belt, but he doesn't have the consistency of throwing those type of innings that gives him a real good chance every time he goes out there. That's the equation that we're trying to solve. Hopefully if we can get him there, we have ourselves a real good young 22-year-old pitcher with a pretty interesting future in front of him."
Chatwood has struggled with maintaining a consistent delivery so far in his career. He has a tendency to "fall off the rubber," in his delivery, resulting in his arm coming through late and his fastballs either spraying up in the zone or cutting down into the dirt.
Bicep tendinitis lands Sanchez on disabled list
DENVER -- With Tyler Chatwood coming up from Double-A Tulsa to start in place of the injured Christian Friedrich on Sunday, the Rockies placed left-handed starter Jonathan Sanchez on the disabled list with left bicep tendinitis.
"He has some soreness," manager Jim Tracy said before Sunday's series finale with the Giants. "He will not travel with us. They are going to treat him, and once he gets to the point where he's able to get back up and begin a throwing program after treatment, we'll get him ramped back up and get some bullpen sessions with him."
Though Minor League seasons are winding down and there may be limited availability for rehab assignments if Sanchez takes longer than expected to recover, Tracy is eager to see more of Sanchez as the club shifts to an evaluation mode looking ahead to the 2013 season.
"Hopefully between now and season's end we'll get him back out there and get him pitching again," Tracy said.
Sanchez is 0-3 with a 9.53 ERA in three starts since joining the Rockies in a trade with the Royals for Colorado's Opening Day starter, Jeremy Guthrie.
Tracy also announced that third baseman Chris Nelson will be activated Monday before the Rockies begin a series with the Dodgers. Nelson joined the club in Colorado on Sunday after completing a rehab assignment. He has been on the DL since July 17 after the club discovered he experienced an irregular heartbeat.
Rockies slide Helton to third in batting order
DENVER -- Rockies slugger Todd Helton was in the three-hole in the lineup Sunday for the first time this season. Helton has hit third for the vast majority of his big league at-bats, but at this stage in his career, the 38-year-old veteran has spent most of his time in the five-spot.
"He has incredible history with [Giants starter Tim Lincecum]," manager Jim Tracy said, referring to Helton's .351 career average (13-for-37 with eight walks) against the Giants right-hander. "He makes the man who's pitching against us throw the ball over the plate. If Timmy doesn't throw the ball over the plate, Todd's not going to swing at it. If he throws the stuff in the dirt, he's not going to take the bait."
Carlos Gonzalez typically hits third for the Rockies in an ideal lineup, with Troy Tulowitzki batting cleanup. Tulowitzki has been on the disabled list since May 31 with a strained left groin, and Michael Cuddyer got the bulk of time batting fourth until he went on the DL on Friday with a right oblique strain.
"In actuality we'd like Carlos Gonzalez to be hitting third," Tracy said. "But of the two guys that have taken up the bulk of hitting fourth on this club, I have both of them on the disabled list. So I have to be creative every day in putting a lineup together that is predominantly centered around what we can do to put some people on base so at least Carlos Gonzalez is taking some at-bats with people on. That's it. There's no other rocket-science theory involved. I really don't have a whole hell of a lot of options."
Among the creative lineup options Tracy has used has been putting leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler in the three-hole recently, a tip of the cap to the center fielder's consistent hitting and improved power, hitting .294 with a career-high 12 home runs this season.
"He's been taking competitive at-bats all year," Tracy said. "I personally feel that Dexter Fowler's self-confidence level has moved a few notches in his own mind. I think Dexter Fowler knows that he has arrived as a Major League player."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.