SAN FRANCISCO -- Relief pitcher Will Harris prepared himself for another line of work in 2009, when he was about to undergo complicated right elbow surgery that would make him a non-factor in the Rockies' plans for two years.Having recently become a father, Harris promised himself he would not live with any regrets if the operation -- not only Tommy John ligament transfer surgery, but a microfracture procedure to correct cartilage problems with the elbow -- didn't allow him to continue pursuing baseball. He even made plans to return to LSU and earn a degree. "I was in a hotel the night before my surgery," Harris said. "But I kind of came to terms with the fact that I might not be able to continue, or whatever I'd get out of the game from then on was going to be lagniappe -- it was going to be extra. It was a making peace with it kind of moment." Now Harris, 26, could be getting everything possible out of the game. The Rockies called him up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday. It wasn't until the fifth inning of Saturday's 9-3 loss to the Giants that Harris arrived at AT&T Park and made himself a player by signing his contract. But he was still focused on his career. He went to LSU for one semester. Although it left him a semester short of graduation, he put school back on the back burner -- he was majoring in general studies, so he hadn't actually picked what he wanted to do beyond baseball -- and worked toward the Majors. Harris hadn't returned to the mound until last season, when he went 3-2 with a 5.55 ERA in 33 games at Class A Modesto. He began the year as one of the old men at Double-A Tulsa. "Playing with the guys in the Texas League this year guys were saying, 'These are your first innings in Double-A,' and I'd say, 'Well, actually, three years ago, I was here, but I didn't pitch,'" Harris said, smiling. Harris caught up quickly, going 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 44 combined games at Tulsa and Colorado Springs. He earned the callup by striking out 66 against 13 walks.
Chacin close to returning to Rockies' rotation
SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who hasn't thrown a pitch in the Majors since May 1, is an evaluation away from being re-inserted into the Rockies' pitching staff, most likely in the starting rotation.Chacin threw 84 pitches and went 6 2/3 innings for Triple-A Colorado Springs in a 5-2 home loss to Round Rock in his fourth and what was scheduled to be final rehab start for a chest nerve problem. Chacin gave up three runs, but more importantly forced 12 groundouts against two fly ball outs. Chacin's fastball sat at 90-91 mph and touched 92, which is a velocity he could be effective at in the Majors. Manager Jim Tracy said Chacin must be checked by Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger, then the club will decide whether to put him back in the rotation -- it could happen as early as Wednesday afternoon against the Brewers -- or have him make another Triple-A start. His rehab assignment has been on the same four-day schedule the Rockies are using. "We have not determined that yet; we want to see the player first, give him a day to see how his body responds," Tracy said. Tracy said the Rockies aren't backing away from a four-man rotation, so they're going to have to see how Chacin does throwing repeatedly on three days' rest. If Chacin goes Wednesday, the Rockies will have to push back lefty Drew Pomeranz or do something else with the southpaw, who is penciled in for Wednesday. But Tracy said, for now, he was keeping all options open, not only including having Chacin throw in the Minors again, but even using him in the "piggy-back" role, throwing up to 50 pitches in early relief of the starter. Chacin went into the season expected to make a stride toward stardom, but with compromised health, was 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in five starts before going to the disabled list. He and left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, are going to be expected to be rotation leaders in 2013. To have a good reading, Tracy said, the Rockies will have to see how he does in a four-man rotation. "We've stayed with this awfully consistently here as of late," Tracy said. "In order to get a real good reading on it, if you go to five, then you're not getting a real good reading on four."
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.