Asencio appeared in 39 games, including 29 starts, with the Royals in 2002-03 (6-8, 5.14 ERA), but an elbow injury in May 2003 derailed his career. He needed surgery in June of that year to remove a bone chip, and he underwent Tommy John ligament transfer surgery in March 2004.
The other reason Tuesday is special is the opponent.
The Phillies started Asencio's career in the Dominican Summer League in 1998 and employed him through 2001. But that winter, Kansas City selected him in the Rule 5 Draft.
"I've been out for three years, so I'm very excited right now," Asencio said. "I'm going to do the best I can. I got a few friends there, Ryan Madson, Chase Utley, Brett Myers [who will start for the Phillies against him]."
As Asencio was going 2-0 with a 3.06 ERA in four Spring Training games, the Rockies were being careful with him, telling everyone they were going to send him to Colorado Springs just to get back into the pitching routine. Through three starts with the Sky Sox, he was 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA. He didn't give up more than three runs in any start.
"He had confidence coming out of Spring Training, and [manager] Clint [Hurdle] and the staff had confidence in him," Rockies player development director Marc Gustafson said. "This isn't foreign to them because they got to live with him, got to see him work. He's our guy. In a perfect world, he would have had a few more starts in Triple-A, but he pitched well."
Day didn't, going 1-2 with a 10.80 ERA. He didn't get past the fourth inning in his last two starts. Rockies trainer Keith Dugger said an examination confirmed "a loss of internal rotation and a minor impingement, but it was more consistent with a shoulder two days after a start than one of a guy who had a serious problem.
Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said on Friday that Day has informed the club he will visit Cincinnati Reds medical director Tim Kremchek for a second opinion.
Hurdle said he was happy with the bullpen and couldn't justify shifting Day there and costing one of the relievers a spot. The Rockies called up Asencio rather than bring back right-hander Byung-Hyun Kim, who has made two injury rehab starts at Colorado Springs and needs to make one more before the Rockies discuss bringing him back. Kim has been out since suffering a hamstring injury late in Spring Training.
Asencio, who was scheduled to start for Colorado Springs on Saturday, was used him in relief on Friday for his first Major League appearance since May 15, 2003, for Kansas City against Minnesota. He overcame two walks by forcing a Moises Alou double-play grounder and striking out Pedro Feliz, who had homered twice off Colorado starter Jason Jennings.
Comeback trail: Catcher Yorvit Torrealba, a former Giant who hasn't played for Colorado this season because of a right shoulder strain, threw long toss and even did light positional work -- a drill in which he would field a ball the way he would a bunt, then make a short-distance throw -- on Friday. ... Right-handed reliever Mike DeJean, also on the DL with a shoulder problem, did some light throwing on Friday. "We'll see what happens, but I'm very encouraged," DeJean said.
Up next: Right-hander Aaron Cook (1-2, 3.43 ERA), who is 0-2 at Coors Field despite holding opponents to a 2.40 ERA and 12 hits in 15 innings, will start for the Rockies against Giants righty Brad Hennessey (1-0, 0.00 ERA) on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. MT.