McLaughlin: Pomeranz, Chatwood improving

McLaughlin: Pomeranz, Chatwood improving

DENVER -- A popular question among Rockies fans is when will they see the return of left-hander Drew Pomeranz, the fifth overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, and the key to the deal that sent former ace Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians last summer.

Bo McLaughlin, who became co-pitching coach for the Rockies after Bob Apodaca stepped down on Tuesday, has worked with Pomeranz at Colorado Springs since the lefty was sent down in May. McLaughlin said Pomeranz has made progress.

Pomeranz was 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five starts before the Rockies sent him down to regain the throwing motion he had before the trade. A long period of inactivity before the trade became official, and an emergency appendectomy last summer, seemed to lead to mechanical changes.

Pomeranz is 4-4 with a 2.91 ERA in nine starts with the Sky Sox.

"He's an exceptional athlete," McLaughlin said. "When you throw six innings of no-hit ball [against Salt Lake City on June 19], tough to change that, and the last game he pitched well, too. He's been around 91-92 [mph] and topping out at 93-95.

"It's the quality of pitches he's throwing. The breaking ball is tighter. He's throwing changeups that have good fade to them. He's mixing and matches his pitches. He's using both sides of the plate with his fastball."

McLaughlin said Pomeranz arrived at Colorado Springs with video of his motion before the trade, and the two have been working to restore it.

"He's 23 years old, OK, that's a fact," McLaughlin said. "He's not going to be able to learn what I have the last 20 years coaching and 10 years playing. I can't give him 30 years experience in the last two months. He's going to learn at his own pace.'

McLaughlin also sees progress from right-hander Tyler Chatwood, who is 0-2, 5.79 in nine starts for the Sky Sox.

Chatwood, who pitched 142 Major League innings for the Angels last year and was acquired by the Rockies in an off-season trade, suffered a strained chest muscle shortly after being sent down from the Majors, but is healthy.

"Chatwood's done well and he'll pitch [Thursday] night," McLaughlin said. "He was getting a little bit wishy-washy and getting too deep into counts after he's been ahead. When he got down, he was getting behind in the count and having to work his way back into the count.

"Now he's jumping ahead and messing with him too much and now he's back to 2-2. Again, it's maturity. He's 21. It's taking a deep breath sometimes and saying, OK. They're very talented. How fast they learn and how much they go forward will determine what they can do."