SAN DIEGO -- A Rockies starting rotation beset by injury and ineffectiveness will hope for lifts from right-hander Alex White on Tuesday night and left-hander Christian Friedrich on Wednesday afternoon in games against the Padres, Rockies manager Jim Tracy said on Monday. Both have been summoned from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
White, 23, made seven starts for the Rockies (2-4, 8.42 ERA) late last season after arriving from the Indians in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade. White was recovering from a middle finger injury that he sustained pitching in the Minors for the Indians.
White's performance was up and down during Spring Training, but he appears to have regained the consistency on his sinker and developed a slider. He has shown the form at Colorado Springs that led the Indians to select him in the first round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft. White was 1-2 with a 2.92 ERA, 21 strikeouts and eight walks for the Sky Sox.
After giving up 12 home runs over 36 1/3 innings pitching for the Rockies last year, White gave up no homers in 24 2/3 frames for Colorado Springs, in a league full of hitters' parks, including his home field.
The Rockies need help. The starters' 5.68 ERA is highest in the National League, and only the Red Sox (5.88) and Twins (6.73) are worse. The .308 batting average against is by far highest in the NL and second highest in baseball to the Twins' .322. Right-handers Jeremy Guthrie and Jhoulys Chacin are out with shoulder injuries, and righty Guillermo Moscoso came up from Colorado Springs, posted an 11.57 ERA in two starts, and was promptly sent back to the Minors.
"Some unfortunate circumstances happened up here for me to be here," White said. "The thing is, it's just a good opportunity. I want to pitch well and be able to finish strong."
Tracy said he has talked with Colorado Springs pitching coach Bo McLaughlin and seen some of White's pitching on MiLB.com. The skipper sees a pitcher who is bucking for a Major League chance.
"He looks as under control as I've seen him look since we acquired him," Tracy said. "I don't see the violence at the end of his delivery, trying to get the ball to the glove side."
Friedrich, 24, the Rockies' top pick in the 2008 Draft, was 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA, 27 strikeouts, four walks and a .213 batting average against at Colorado Springs. Friedrich had not arrived in the Rockies' clubhouse as of Monday afternoon.
After Monday's game, the Rockies optioned right-handed reliever Edgmer Escalona (0-1, 8.53 ERA) to Colorado Springs to make room for White. The club will need to make another move to clear a spot for Friedrich on Wednesday.