DENVER -- After a day's deliberation, the Rockies optioned struggling right-hander Jhoulys Chacin to Triple-A Colorado Springs.The move comes after Chacin (0-3, 7.30 ERA) gave up seven runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings of the Rockies' 7-6 loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday night.
The club will announce a corresponding move on Friday. Chacin's next turn to start was on Monday at San Diego.Chacin, 24, looked like a budding star the first three months of last season, his first full season in the Majors, but he has gone 3-13 since last June 27. He looked lost at times on Tuesday, to the point where manager Jim Tracy asked him on Wednesday if he was injured. The answer to that question wasn't clear. Chacin indicated that he feels good but that there's something different about his delivery.
"There is nothing physically wrong, but the ball's not coming out [of his hand]," Tracy said. "We've seen pitchers go through this before. We're definitely dealing with a situation like that. He's talked about the fact that he throws the pitch and it doesn't feel like it's coming out [correctly]. 'Are you hurt?' 'I'm not hurt.' We have to move forward, keep investigating and figure out a way to skin this cat, because we need this guy."Pitching coach Bob Apodaca is as much at a loss as anyone. "I was very optimistic about him going into last night's game," Apodaca said. "His preparation was very good during the week. He was in a good frame of mind. He expected himself to go really deep into the game. He was confident. He got punched in the mouth in the first inning, and what happens is that he pitched to avoid further damage, went away from trying to get quick contact. "He's a little dazed right now. He's searching. I wish it was just one mechanical thing that is the problem. He's going to have to enjoy some success and gain some confidence that he doesn't have to make perfect pitches." As for who will replace Chacin, there are myriad options at Colorado Springs. Right-hander Alex White (1-2, 2.92 ERA) struggled in a loss at Sacramento on Tuesday night, giving up three runs (two earned) and running up such a high pitch count that he was removed after 4 2/3 innings. He hasn't pitched more than six innings in a game. Righty Tyler Chatwood started the year in the Rockies' bullpen and is building up his arm for starting duty. Left-hander Christian Friedrich had his moments in Spring Training and is 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA at Colorado Springs. However, his last start, in which he allowed two runs in five innings in a no-decision against Fresno on Sunday, came after he had missed 13 days with an injury to his left hamstring. The Rockies have already turned to Colorado Springs once, calling up righty Guillermo Moscoso (0-1, 10.80 ERA) after Jeremy Guthrie went on the disabled list with an injured right shoulder. Moscoso will start on Friday night against the Braves in the opener of a three-game set at Coors Field. Even with the lack of ready-made answers, the Rockies decided that Chacin will have to work out his troubles in Triple-A. During the winter, general manager Dan O'Dowd questioned Chacin's conditioning program in Venezuela, but Apodaca insists Chacin is in proper shape. He even said Chacin's usual problem of developing blisters on his pitching fingers hasn't arisen. "I'm just going to keep working, trying to get better," Chacin said after Tuesday's game, when it wasn't clear if he would be demoted. "I'm not going to give up."
Young making smooth transition to outfield
DENVER -- Eric Young Jr.'s transition to the Rockies' outfield reached a new level on Tuesday night.Young, who was drafted as a second baseman, but has been transitioning to the outfield over the last three seasons, made an outstanding diving catch on a Dee Gordon line drive in center field to save at least one run in the third inning of the Rockies' 7-6 loss to the Dodgers. Young struggled with outfield play at first, making the transition at the big-league level. But he became comfortable in left field during the latter part of last season and showed during Spring Training and the early part of this season that he can play center. "Center is one of my favorite positions to play," Young said. "I like anything up the middle, second or center. "From center, you can see exactly where the catcher is setting up and you have an idea if the pitcher makes his pitch and the hitter puts a bat on it, it should be in a certain area. But also there is extra space out there. There is room for me to hit top speed." Young was playing Gordon in straightaway center and needed to cover considerable ground to put himself in position for the dive.
Guthrie making progress with shoulder
DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, out with a shoulder injury that he suffered while riding his bicycle to the park, hopes to throw off the mound "a couple times" between now and May 8 -- the day he is eligible to return from the disabled list.Guthrie played catch at up to 200 feet on Tuesday. "It gets better each day," Guthrie said. "The little bit of soreness continues to improve. I haven't talked to anybody that makes those decisions, but if it's [about] how I feel, I'll be pitching." Guthrie (2-1, 5.92 ERA) understands that he will need to throw the bullpen sessions to be seriously considered for a May 8 return. But as of Wednesday morning, no such sessions had been scheduled. The accident occurred when a part on his bike malfunctioned. The bike has been fixed, and Guthrie will continue to use a bike as his primary mode of transportation, as he has since age 5.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.