SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss announced that righty Tyler Chatwood will make his 2014 debut against the Giants on Sunday afternoon, pushing righty Jordan Lyles -- who filled in for two starts while Chatwood recovered from a slight left hamstring strain -- to Monday's opener of four games at San Diego.
The upshot is lefty Franklin Morales will move from the rotation to the bullpen.
Lyles lost the competition to Morales for a rotation spot in Spring Training, and only Chatwood's injury prevented Lyles from beginning the season at Triple-A Colorado Springs. However, Lyles went 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in his two starts while Morales was 0-1, 6.94. Morales joins sometime-closer Rex Brothres and Boone Logan to give the Rockies a trio of hard-throwing lefties.
The Rockies will decide how they make room for Chatwood on the active roster -- either sending down a reliever or a position player -- on Sunday.
"Lyles is pitching really well and as we sit here today it's the best move for our club," Weiss said Friday. "Frankie gives us a lot of versatility in the bullpen. I know he really enjoyed starting. He wanted to come here and get an opportunity to start. It's not like he didn't pitch well enough to stay there. But it's the move that makes our club as good as it can be."
Cautious Rockies sit Tulo one more game
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was dashing along the grass at AT&T Park early Friday afternoon, feeling almost as good as he looked. But almost wasn't good enough for the Rockies.
After originally having him in the lineup, manager Walt Weiss scratched him for Friday night's opener of a three-game set with the Giants. Pressed when asked, Tulowitzki, who sat out Wednesday afternoon's 10-4 victory over the White Sox and was off with the club Thursday, admitted slight tightness in the right quadriceps. It's an issue that has flared this week.
Tulowitzki, who pinch-hit in the ninth inning Friday and struck out looking to end a 6-5 loss, said he expects to play in day games against the Giants on Saturday and Sunday.
"I was trying to get loose, trying to get a feel for it," Tulowitzki said. "I definitely feel a lot better, with those two days off. I definitely feel better, so I was happy about that. They made the decision on the feedback I gave them. I went in and talked to them and told them I definitely feel better, but with the day game coming up tomorrow they are going to play this thing safe."
The Rockies' decision to remove Tulowitzki was a hot topic for fans on social media, but it's a continuation of a pattern the Rockies began last year of being cautious with Tulowitzki early in the season. Tulowitzki was coming off surgery to remove scar tissue from his left groin and had a history of leg muscle issues, so he was rested whenever there was tightness. His time-loss injury last year was a broken rib he suffered diving for a grounder. But by taking days off and not overextending when running the bases, Tulowitzki staved off the leg muscle problems.
He missed 25 games with the broken rib and started 119 of the other 137 games -- nearly 89 percent. If he manages to avoid the disabled list this year and plays at the rate of last year, minus the injury time, he'll make roughly 141 starts. If he'd made that many last year, he'd have finished 13th among shortstops in the Majors and eighth in the National League. As it turned out, he was 18th in the Majors and ninth in the NL.
"A couple games is too much for me because I want to be out there as much as I can," Tulowitzki said. "But you look around the league and there are a lot of shortstops that take days here and there, even the younger guys. I saw [Andrelton] Simmons with the Braves because of his wrist and some other guys. It's unfortunate but it's taking precaution."
Last season, just five shortstops in the Majors exceeded 155 starts and seven started at least 150. Weiss' plan to start Tulowitzki in the 140-145 range (he plans the same with left fielder Carlos Gonzalez) is not far out of line with the modern game. The cases of Tulowitzki and Gonzalez are tied to health, but many cases are based on stats against given pitchers.
"I think it's case by case; you can't make a blanket statement whether it's one or the other," Weiss said. "It's based on the individual you're dealing with. If it's some injury history, that's a factor. Some guys have pretty obvious platoon splits."
Catcher Rosario sidelined by wrist injury
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario was scratched from the lineup Friday night against the Giants because of a left wrist strain.
Rosario incurred the injury while sliding into second base during Tuesday night's 15-3 loss to the White Sox at Coors Field and aggravated it when he fouled off a pitch during Wednesday's 10-4 victory over the White Sox. Jordan Pacheco received the start Friday in Rosario's place.
It was the second start for Pacheco with lefty Jorge De La Rosa pitching. De La Rosa and Rosario became crossed up on signals on Opening Night, when De La Rosa went just 4 1/3 innings in a loss at Miami. De La Rosa lasted just 4 1/3 Saturday when Pacheco caught him against the D-backs, but the Rockies came back to win that game.
Rutledge sees benefit to early demotion
SAN FRANCISCO -- Infielder Josh Rutledge immediately pushed his spirit to accept the Rockies' decision to send him to Triple-A Colorado Springs to start the season as a positive. The result was he hit .389 in five games and was recalled Wednesday.
Rugledge made that decision pay off with a pinch-hit, RBI single in the Rockies' six-run eighth inning during a 10-4 victory over the White Sox on Wednesday afternoon.
"I could see that the move was right -- going down, getting to play every day and getting at-bats in," said Rutledge, who spent Spring Training and the days in Colorado Springs analyzing his best swings on video and trying to recapture them. "I took a lot of good swings. I feel like it was the best thing for me. You've got to see the big picture.
"They told why they sent me down. It was disappointing but I could see where they were coming from with that."
Rutledge started at shortstop and batted second Friday night, recording three hits in a 6-5 loss to the Giants, after Troy Tulowitzki was scratched because of tightness in his right quadriceps.
Rutledge is part of a competitive and fluid utility picture. Charlie Culberson won the lone utility job on the Opening Day roster. Rutledge, Paul Janish and Ryan Wheeler were sent to Colorado Springs. With the Rockies going back and forth between 12 and 13 pitchers -- they have 12, so Rutledge and Culberson are on the team -- the players will have to be sharp to hold jobs.
"It's a good problem to have because that just means you have that much more depth," Rutledge said. "Everybody in big league camp is going to help this team at some point or another. From the Rockies' position, that's the best thing."