DENVER -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin is inching closer to full health and itching to interject some hope into his team's season.
Chacin, who hasn't pitched since May 1 because of a nerve issue on the right side of his chest, is scheduled for a light bullpen session on Tuesday.
Last Friday, he threw 15 pitches off the mound with a catcher positioned in front of home plate and 15 more pitches to the catcher positioned right on home plate. This next session, the catcher will be right at the plate for 15 and in a normal position for the next 15.
Chacin was expected to emerge as a star, but his season was miserable -- 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in five starts -- before he went to the disabled list. The Rockies planned to option him to Triple-A Colorado Springs before Chacin admitted what many had suspected -- that he was hurt. The problem was undefined until he visited a vascular specialist in St. Louis.
With the current rotation foundering, Chacin sits and watches, along with right-hander Juan Nicasio, coming back from a strained left knee, and left-handed veteran Jorge De La Rosa, who has had multiple setbacks in his return from last year's Tommy John elbow surgery.
Nicasio is slated to face live hitters on Tuesday.
Chacin realizes that if he returns and pitches well, it could settle some fears about the future of the rotation.
"It is frustrating for Nicasio, De La Rosa and me -- pitchers who have been here," Chacin said. "We see the games. I believe if we get healthy, we can help the team win some games and show the fans and everybody that we can pitch.
"We're not having the best time right now, but we can pitch and help our really good offensive team. We can get better. You never know what can happen."