Notes: Sullivan expecting big call

Notes: Sullivan expecting big call

CHICAGO -- Rockies center fielder Cory Sullivan received the call to start on Wednesday afternoon against the Cubs, but that was expected. It's another possible call that has Sullivan nervous.

Sullivan had not started since being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on June 15. But the short turnaround after Tuesday night's loss, and regular center fielder Willy Taveras' 4-for-22 career performance against Cubs starter Carlos Zambrano, made the time right for Sullivan.

But the whole time, Sullivan has his cell phone on, waiting for a call from his wife, Bresee, who is expecting the couple's first child at any moment.

"[Rockies' assistant trainer] Scott Gehret usually has my phone during the game, so if anything calls, he's got it," Sullivan said. "My mom is with my wife at all times.

"If she does have the baby today, or whenever it is during the game, I'll just head back [to Denver] and meet the team in Houston. Hopefully, she doesn't have it for four more days, then we'll be at home and it'll work out well."

Since being recalled, Sullivan, the starting center fielder much of last season, is 2-for-4 off the bench. His pinch-hit single on Tuesday night drove in Jamey Carroll for his first RBI.

"My biggest thing coming up this year is just to be patient and put my optimal swing on the ball, not try to do too much," Sullivan said. "It's just trying to do a little less."

Manager Clint Hurdle took into account that right-handed hitters are hitting .178 against Zambrano, while left-handers are batting .314, so Sullivan got the start over Taveras.

"We can stretch [Sullivan] out a little bit," Hurdle said. "He's familiar with this ballpark. We can see him sweat."

Interpret the numbers: Two-time All-Star closer Brian Fuentes entered Wednesday with a career-low 6.82 strikeouts per nine innings. He has not finished a season lower than 9.00 in that category since coming from the Mariners in a trade before the 2000 season.

However, Fuentes is throwing 15.4 pitches an inning. His lowest figure in that category was 16.3 last season. Fewer pitches could mean less wear.

Hurdle acknowledged that Fuentes' breaking ball hasn't been consistent, which has meant hitters have been able to get soft hits with two outs. But fewer pitches could be a good tradeoff.

"A punchout is nice, because he can still get one," Hurdle said. "But soft contact is good, also. You'd like to look at a closer to pitch innings 15 pitches or less. Tito is a guy that's hovered around 19 or 20.

"His success has been fine. Take every closer in the league and tell me how many you want more than him, regardless of this last week [two blown saves]. I know he's at the top of my list."

On the Rox: Taveras' 26 bunt hits, two on Tuesday night, already are most in a season in Rockies history. Juan Pierre had 24 in 2002. ... Second baseman Jamey Carroll homered on Tuesday night for his first home run of the season and eighth of his career. It was his second at Wrigley Field. He has had two each at Wrigley, Coors Field and Montreal's Olympic Stadium, and one apiece at Chase Field and RFK Stadium.

Up next: Rockies right-hander Aaron Cook (4-5, 4.93 ERA) will face Astros righty Roy Oswalt (7-5, 3.55) in the opener of a four-game set at Minute Maid Park on Thursday at 6:05 p.m. MT.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.