Tracy thrilled to see Nicasio back on mound

Tracy thrilled to see Nicasio back on mound

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jim Tracy went so far as to call it a "miracle." One way or another, the Rockies manager knows he witnessed something special Tuesday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Tracy watched Colorado pitcher Juan Nicasio throw his first official bullpen session of Spring Training, just months after Nicasio was struck in the head by a line drive on Aug. 5 and fell, fracturing his C-1 vertebra. It was unclear when Nicasio would be able to walk again, let alone throw a baseball.

"It just continues to be amazing," Tracy said. "But it says a whole lot about the individual. You try to come up with a word to describe what has been going on, because there's a lot of people involved here -- our trainers, his doctors."

To call Nicasio's a speedy recovery would be a gross understatement. But the right-hander, who was 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA in his rookie season last year with the Rockies, has been approaching top-end velocity over the past few weeks in his pitching sessions.

Tracy is certain that Nicasio has a clear goal in mind, and that it's an attainable one.

"He expects to be a part of this rotation on Opening Day," Tracy said. "He expects to be a part of it."