Eyeing D-backs, Rox reshuffle rotation

Rox reshuffle rotation

MIAMI -- Left-hander Glendon Rusch will start for the Rockies on Sunday as they attempt to salvage a split of a four-game series with the Marlins.

But the big news is left-hander Jeff Francis will return to the rotation on Wednesday night as the Rockies attempt to salvage their season.

Francis, who went 3-7 with a 5.67 ERA while trying to pitch through left shoulder inflammation, will return from his injury rehab assignment on Wednesday against the Nationals.

He returns to a rotation that is being shuffled. Manager Clint Hurdle wants, in order, Francis and right-handers Ubaldo Jimenez and Aaron Cook -- the club's three best pitchers -- to handle a potentially season-turning set with the Diamondbacks from Aug. 12-14.

Here's how it'll work:

• After Rusch pitches on Sunday, the Rockies will begin a four-game series at Coors Field against the Nationals with Cook on Monday, followed by right-hander Jorge De La Rosa on short rest on Tuesday, Francis on Wednesday and Jimenez on Thursday.

• The Rockies will meet the Padres in three games starting Friday, with Rusch, Cook and De La Rosa getting the starts.

• In an effort to make up ground against the Diamondbacks, who currently lead the National League West, the Rockies will go with their top three.

Pitching matchup
COL: LHP Glendon Rusch (4-3, 5.70 ERA)
Rusch has been steady since joining the Rockies' rotation, and had the lead on Tuesday against the Pirates when he was removed in an offensive substitution. The bullpen lost the game. Rusch gave up three runs on six hits, but didn't strike out any and walked two. The Rockies aren't looking for complete games from Rusch, but being efficient enough to throw six innings would be big.

FLA: LHP Scott Olsen (6-6, 4.04 ERA)
In his last start against the Mets on Tuesday, Olsen kept his team in the game by giving up just two runs in 5 2/3 innings. Olsen started off the game on a bad note by giving up three straight doubles, but he was able to get out of the first inning with just one run scoring. The 24-year-old went on to retire nine of the next 10 hitters he faced, but was pulled in the sixth after throwing 24 pitches to six batters.

Rockies center fielder Willy Taveras, who has hit safely in nine straight games (.385 -- 15-for-39), is three steals shy of Eric Young's Rockies single-season record. Young stole 53 bases in 1996. ... Both of left fielder Matt Holliday's multi-homer games this year have come against the Marlins -- July 4 and Saturday night. ... The Rockies struck out 15 times Saturday night -- 13 against starter Ricky Nolasco and two against closer Kevin Gregg. That tied their season high, which came on July 10 against the Brewers.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
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On radio
• KOA 850

Up next
• Monday: Rockies (Aaron Cook, 14-6, 3.53) vs. Nationals (TBD), 7:05 p.m. MT
• Tuesday: Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa, 5-6, 6.94) vs. Nationals (John Lannan, 6-11, 3.61), 7:05 p.m. MT
• Wednesday: Rockies (Jeff Francis, 3-7, 5.67) vs. Nationals (Odalis Perez, 4-8, 4.16), 7:05 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.