DENVER -- The Indians will try to unlock the mystery of right-hander Esmil Rogers.

The Rockies sent Rogers to the Indians on Tuesday for cash considerations. Rogers, 26, was 0-2 with an 8.06 ERA in 23 relief appearances this season.

The numbers don't begin to explain a maddening pattern of showing a fastball capable of 97 mph and a slider that can dominate, but within the same outing, melting down and not being able to halt the damage.

"I can't sit here and tell you I have the answer to that," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "We've seen hints of brilliance from him and the highs and the lows. The middle ground part of it is something he hasn't reached. Will that surface? Time will tell."

The Rockies designated Rogers for assignment Saturday to make room for left-handed pitcher Jeff Francis.

Rox hope Guthrie catches on with Nieves

DENVER -- The Rockies have turned to veteran backup catcher Wil Nieves to help right-handed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie find his groove.

A solid pitcher with the Orioles the last five season, Guthrie, 33, has struggled this season with the Rockies. Guthrie entered Tuesday night's start at home against the Athletics at 3-4 with a 6.35 ERA, and at Coors Field he was 1-2 with an 8.87 ERA. He has given up 11 homers in 51 innings.

After Guthrie gave up 11 hits, including two homers, and seven runs in just 3 1/3 innings in a 10-0 loss at Arizona, he needed work, and Nieves -- who has caught for the Padres, Yankees, Nationals and Brewers -- was available to help.

Nieves caught a bullpen session for Guthrie in which infielders Chris Nelson and Eric Young Jr. stood in as hitters, and caught another throwing session. So manager Jim Tracy started Nieves on Tuesday.

"[Rookie Wilin] Rosario has done the bulk of the catching during the games, so Nieves has been with him through all of that [practice]," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "We just want to match him up with Guth and see where it goes."

Nieves, 34, said it's just a matter of keeping everything simple.

  • 142 wins
  • 110 wins
"We've been worrying about hitting our spots," Nieves said. "Ninety percent of the time, it's not the pitch you call -- it's the location. Every time we watch film, we see we're giving them one target and then all of the sudden we're moving our target back to the middle and they're hitting it. We've got a plan, and if we accomplish that plan and hit our spots, we're going to get people out.

"When I was with Washington, every time we played Philadelphia we tried to look at the big picture. They had Ryan Howard, Chase Utley. I told the guys, 'I don't care who's hitting up there. Hit the target, and if they get a hit then just tip your cap to them.'"

The key could be as simple as getting ahead in the count. In the 97 plate appearances when the decision pitch came with the batter ahead, opponents are hitting .347 with seven home runs and a .733 slugging percentage. Guthrie has been ahead just 58 times. He has made some mistakes, to the tune of .304 with three homers and a .536 slugging percentage, but he has a fighting chance if his delivery and location are right.

Surging Colvin remains in lineup

DENVER -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy didn't hesitate to start Tyler Colvin in center field on Tuesday night against the Athletics. Colvin went 6-for-8 with three home runs, a double and five RBI in his last two games.

Dexter Fowler would normally start in center, but not with Colvin this hot.

And Colvin kept right on going against the A's, hitting a leadoff homer against Bartolo Colon.

"I'm not down on what Dexter has done," Tracy said. "He got hotter than the Fourth of July [during the team's last homestand], yet when you look at what Tyler Colvin has done the last couple of days with three home runs hit in the last couple of ballgames, a three-hit game on Sunday, you can't come in and not write his name down."

Colvin hit .276 with 20 home runs and 56 RBIs as a rookie with the Cubs in 2009, but bottomed out to .150 last season and found himself traded to the Rockies during the winter. Colvin said he is better at approaching his part-time role this year.

"I know I feel good, so I'm being ready, having a good approach and sticking with that, not worrying about anything else," Colvin said. "When I get those opportunities I'm not going to try to do too much. When I get my opportunities, I'm going to stick with going the opposite way."