DENVER -- Anyone who witnessed Carlos Gonzalez's towering three-run blast into the Ponderosa Pines beyond the Rockies' center field fence Friday can attest to the fact that CarGo's got his groove on. He tied a career high with six RBIs and set a Rockies record with five of them in one inning.
"It goes without saying the type of damage he can do as an offensive player when he forces people to throw pitches over the plate vs. expanding the strike zone," manager Jim Tracy said. "He's a very dangerous hitter whether it's a right- or left-handed pitcher standing out there."
Gonzalez's fifth-inning home run tied the game, as the Rockies started the inning down four, and 11 runs later they had a seven-run lead coming out of the frame. Gonzalez's patience at the plate enabled him to work the count full and finally see the pitch he was waiting on, and it contributed to a team-wide enhanced offensive output, due in part to forcing up pitch counts.
"He made really good pitches -- it was a good battle," Gonzalez said of Mets pitcher Chris Schwinden. "I took him to a 3-2 count and he gave me a good pitch, a 3-2 changeup. I kind of was waiting for it, trying to stay back and drive it to dead center field.
"I was thinking off-speed, because the guy doesn't have a powerful fastball. Even if he throws me a fastball, I can hit at least a foul ball or put the ball in play. I was 80 percent sure it was going to be a breaking ball, because that's what he threw all night."
The 3-for-6 night at the plate gave Gonzalez a .350 (14-for-40) average against right-handers this season, and his plate discipline is testament to a significant improvement from Rockies hitters up and down the plate.
"You see a lot more pitches," Gonzalez said of his approach at the plate. "Your eyes are going to get better. You're going to let the ball travel. Your hands are going to be better. When you see a lot of pitches, that's going to help you, and that's going to help the team."
Injuries to Pomeranz, Guthrie not troublesome
DENVER -- With two pitchers going down Friday -- that night's starter, Drew Pomeranz, left the game with stiffness in his left forearm after four innings and Saturday's scheduled starter Jeremy Guthrie falling off his bike and straining his shoulder earlier in the day -- it may have looked like the sky was falling in on the Rockies' rotation. Despite the rough day, things may not be as bleak as they appeared.
Pomeranz is fine and is not expected to miss any time.
"He felt a little something in his forearm, and I erred on the side of caution," manager Jim Tracy said Saturday. "He feels fine today. I have every reason to believe that he'll be the starting pitcher on Wednesday against the Dodgers."
The 23-year-old rookie southpaw who came to the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade said his best guess is the stiff forearm could be a result of hitting more than he's used to, having not hit in college or the Minors.
"It just scared me, because I didn't know what it was," Pomeranz said Saturday. "It could have just been a cramp, or it could have been anything. I just don't like to feel [new] things."
Guthrie also has no serious damage but is dealing with enough pain to place him on the disabled list with the expectation of missing two starts. He already played catch Saturday, an encouraging sign. He is eligible to return May 7 when the Rockies open a series in San Diego, and Tracy is shooting for having Guthrie start that day.
Even more promising is Jorge De La Rosa's progress as he rehabs his way back from season-ending surgery to repair a ligament tear on his left elbow, keeping him out of commission since last May 25. De La Rosa pitched against the A's at extended spring workouts in Arizona on Friday and could be ready for a Minor League rehab assignment that could bring him back to the club in June.
"De La Rosa did terrific yesterday," Tracy said. "Six innings, 72 pitches, he gave up three hits, he walked one, he struck out nine, and he gave up an earned run. He sat pretty much the entire time at 91-92 mph. We're extremely encouraged. He feels really good today, which is also really encouraging the day after in relation to what it is that we've been dealing with."
Moscoso among pitchers that give Rox depth
DENVER -- When Opening Day starter Jeremy Guthrie's bike chain broke Friday, sending him spilling onto the bike path on his pitching arm a day before his scheduled start against the Mets, the Rockies were prepared.
An offseason full of trades and free-agent signings on the Major and Minor League levels gave the Rockies pitching depth that is there to seamlessly fill the gaps when the unexpected injury takes a pitcher out of commission.
"[Pitching depth is] exactly the reason we did some of the things we did this winter," manager Jim Tracy said. "We're mindful that pitching at altitude is a little different than pitching in a lot of other places, and so depth is very necessary."
In addition to new acquisitions currently on the Major League club, including Guthrie, Jamie Moyer, and Drew Pomeranz, the Rockies have four new pitchers with Major League experience pitching for the Triple-A Sky Sox in Alex White, Carlos Torres, Guillermo Moscoso, and Tyler Chatwood.
On Saturday, Moscoso, 28, left the Sky Sox to start for the Rockies in place of Guthrie. The right-hander did not have a great Spring Training, posting a 7.36 ERA in four appearances, and his Triple-A season has not been stellar at 1-3 with a 7.91 ERA through his first four starts -- "There haven't been too many moments of brilliance for me to speak about," Tracy said -- but it's his day to pitch, and he has some pedigree with the A's, where he was 8-10 last season with a 3.38 ERA in 23 games, 21 of which were starts.
"This is a real nice test for Guillermo Moscoso," Tracy said. "In this case, you place an awful lot [of faith] on what took place when he was playing competitive games at the Major League level during the course of the regular season with a lot of things on the line. And his numbers last year were impressive, so I'm anxious to see where this goes."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.