DENVER -- Dexter Fowler is ahead of his own curve. Rarely thought of as a power hitter, Fowler is defying expectation with a share of the team high of four home runs this season.
Fowler hit five last season (four of which came in August and September), and his career high is six.
"I worked out in the offseason and got a lot stronger," he said of his newfound power. "But I think it's just knowing my swing and having a good foundation."
Fowler hit homers in both of the first two games of the Mets series after manager Jim Tracy moved him to the eight-spot in the lineup so that he could relax and "just swing the bat." Fowler had made all his previous starts of the season in the two-hole.
"He's driving the ball," Tracy said. "Part of relaxing is not only mentally but physically your body relaxes. If you allow yourself to get into that position and as [a] result of that, there's no restriction to your swing and the barrel of the bat comes through the strike zone a lot freer and you start catching the ball out there where you're supposed to instead of catching it a lot deeper in the hitting area and or you don't catch it at all."
Tracy has been encouraging Fowler to keep his swing short, and has some concern that Fowler could start lengthening his swing again if he starts swinging for the fences.
"The better approach is try to barrel up the ball and square it up and hit it and create backspin with a hard groundball, a hard line drive in mind, and all of a sudden here goes a the ball and it just carries out of the ball park," Tracy said. "I know for a fact you can hit 15-20 home runs that way and you can hit a whole [heck] of a lot of runs in between the ones that do go out of the park."
Fowler is on board with the approach, but at 6'4", a short swing isn't always easy to execute.
"I've got long arms and a lot of leverage," Fowler said. "It's always going to be a challenge to keep my swing short. I've been hitting the ball before, even in Pittsburgh [in the previous series]. I was just hitting it right at people. It's part of the game, and you just have to keep swinging."
De La Rosa, Outman on way back to Colorado
DENVER -- The Rockies have set a timetable to start Jorge De La Rosa's Minor League rehabilitation assignment. After a successful six-inning outing in extended Spring Training with one run and nine strikeouts on Friday, team personnel have deemed De La Rosa ready for rehab.
"Jorge De La Rosa is scheduled for May 2 with the Modesto Nuts," manager Jim Tracy said before Sunday's rubber match with the Mets. "[He'll throw] roughly five innings or 65 pitches. We'll take it one start at a time and just continue to stay on the same course that we've been on since he had to step away."
De La Rosa has been on the disabled list since May 25 of 2011 with a UCL tear in his left elbow, and has been a stalwart in the Rockies rotation over the previous four seasons.
Preceding him at Class-A Modesto has been Rockies reliever Josh Outman, who has been on the DL since the end of March with an oblique strain. Outman made his first rehab appearance Saturday night, throwing one perfect inning.
"It was very, very good," Tracy said. "I think there was a couple strikeouts. I think his velocity range on the fastball was between 91 and 95. He was dominant, that's how good he was in the inning that he pitched, and felt great, so that was really encouraging to hear."
There are no projections yet for when either pitcher might be back in the big leagues, but the window for a Minor League rehabilitation assignment is 30 days. The assignment can be stopped if needed, but if all goes well, both pitchers could be with the Rockies by June.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.