Notes: Hirsh heads back to DL

Notes: Hirsh heads back to DL

DENVER -- It's a wonder Rockies starting pitcher Jason Hirsh stayed in Tuesday's game for a full six innings after being drilled in the calf by a J.J. Hardy line drive in the top of the first. X-rays later revealed that the drive fractured his right fibula, and Hirsh was sent back to the disabled list Thursday, just two starts after spending a month on the DL with a sprained right ankle.

"It's a little disheartening to work so hard to get back and then one pitch and you're back where you started," Hirsh said. "It's part of the game. It's an unfortunate series of events that happened, but I'll just work my way back from it."

Hirsh finished the first and threw five more innings in the 11-4 win over the Brewers, but he will stay off the mound for the next two weeks. Hirsh will throw some catch to keep his arm in reasonable shape, but he'll avoid any demanding baseball activities.

"They're going to take an X-ray in two weeks and go from there," Hirsh said. "If they see growth or the bone starting to repair itself, they'll let me get out there and do a little more activity."

With two weeks until the X-ray, and some kind of Minor League rehabilitation assignment required to get him back into game shape, that puts the best case scenario for Hirsh's return at three to four weeks.

Hirsh was 1-0 with a 3.97 ERA in his two starts since his July 2 ankle injury on the base paths, and he is determined not to rush himself back after this freak injury.

"I trust our trainers a lot," Hirsh said. "They're basically going to go off of what I tell them."

The Rockies will be challenged to find a starter to replace him in the rotation when Hirsh's spot comes up Sunday. Manager Clint Hurdle already has dismissed the ideas of brining Taylor Buchholz out of the bullpen, starting Jeff Francis on short rest or calling up Triple-A southpaw Franklin Morales (2-0, 1.42 ERA since being promoted from Double-A Tulsa) to pitch on short rest.

"We'll take that one day at a time," Hurdle said. "We've got some options. We've got in-house options. We'll probably continue to look at things on the wire."

With the Rockies in a pennant race, and with starter Rodrigo Lopez (right flexor tendon strain) transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL on Thursday, the Rockies may need to find the solution externally. Morales is the only Sky Sox pitcher making a strong case for a call-up, though Bobby Keppel (7-8, 6.09 ERA in 21 games, 18 starts) has had a taste of big-league experience over the past two seasons, giving him an edge as the Rockies look for someone to round out their rotation. Rookie Ubaldo Jimenez, Thursday's starter, already was promoted from Triple-A to take Lopez's spot.

Barmes is back: Taking Hirsh's spot on the roster -- at least until a starting pitcher is found -- is last year's starting shortstop, Clint Barmes, who was recalled from Triple-A for his second stint with the parent club this season.

"With three [Cubs] starters left-handed, we need a guy that's a little versatile," Hurdle said. "I've got two starters -- one just went down and one's coming back -- with [Willy] Taveras and [Todd] Helton. So we're limited off the bench. We need a player that can do some different things. He can do a lot of things."

Helton left Wednesday's game after three innings with back spasms, and Thursday made the third straight start Taveras was out with a strained right quadriceps.

Barmes has had a strong season in Colorado Springs, hitting .297 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs in 98 games. He is hitting .350 (42-for-120) against Triple-A left-handers.

"I feel great," Barmes said upon arriving at Coors Field on Thursday. "Defensively, I feel like I still continue to learn and improve. Now, instead of just one position, I'm working on a few, so I've still got a lot of work to do that way, but I feel really good. I feel confident at the plate, relaxed. And that's really all I could ask for at this point. That's the total opposite of where I was at last year."

Barmes has played second, third and center field, in addition to shortstop this year, and he acknowledges that settling into a utility role will be his top task.

"Learning the bench role, that's going to be my biggest challenge," Barmes said. "My goal is to be ready and not have anybody tell me to be ready."

Catch of the day: The Rockies made two additional roster moves Thursday, optioning catcher Alvin Colina to Colorado Springs and purchasing the contract of catcher Geronimo Gil from Colorado Springs.

Gil becomes the fourth backup catcher on the Rockies roster in the past five days. Chris Iannetta started Sunday before being optioned to Triple-A in exchange for Edwin Bellorin. Bellorin made his big-league debut Tuesday, but he was injured in the game and put on the DL. Colina took his spot Wednesday.

The Colina move was a stop-gap move until the Rockies could get Gil back from Mexico City, where he has spent the season in the Mexican Summer League on loan from the Sky Sox. He hit .396 with 12 homers and 44 RBIs in 75 games for the Diablos Rojos, ranking second in average and fourth in on-base percentage (.469).

Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Fund: The Rockies annual Wives' Charity Grab Bags will be held Friday and Saturday inside Coors Field across from the entrance of the Diamond Dry Goods store, with all proceeds going to the Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Fund. The fund was established after Coolbaugh, the Double-A Tulsa Drillers' first-base coach, died after being hit in the neck with a foul ball July 22 in a game at Little Rock.

The fund-raising event will start at 6 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday and will continue through approximately the seventh inning. Fans can purchase a grab bag for $40, cash or check, and each bag will contain a baseball autographed by a member of the Rockies. Those who purchase three grab bags will be able to choose a bag from a "Bonus Bowl," which contains autographed items from previous Rockies players.

The Wives' Charity Grab Bags raised nearly $20,000 last year, with the proceeds benefiting the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association and the Father Ed Judy House.

Up next: Aaron Cook (8-6, 4.16 ERA) will take the hill for the Rockies in the second game of the four-game set with the Cubs, and he'll face Jason Marquis (8-7, 4.39 ERA), the lone right-hander the Rockies will see in the series.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.