DENVER -- The Rockies recalled right-hander Tyler Chatwood from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday to work out of the bullpen, opening the possibility that another of the team's top young pitchers, left-hander Drew Pomeranz, could start Sunday afternoon against the Padres.
To make room for Chatwood, the Rockies optioned lefty Edwar Cabrera -- who allowed seven runs, five earned, in his Major League debut Wednesday against the Nationals -- to Colorado Springs. Cabrera had spent the season at Double-A Tulsa before his Wednesday start.
Chatwood was slated to be the piggy-back pitcher for left-hander Jeff Francis on Friday night against the Padres. Under the Rockies' four-man rotation, Francis was to be limited to around 75 pitches, and Chatwood is the second starter-type who would pitch once Francis reached his limit.
"We have a guy up here tonight that has been starting and has been upwards of 100 pitches," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "Because of the use of our bullpen the last couple of days, a guy like this that would come in behind [Francis] has enough length to where, if need be, he could pitch for awhile."
Chatwood, 21, who pitched 142 innings, mostly a starter, last season for the Angels, began this season with the Rockies but was sent down after going 1-0 with a save and a 5.63 ERA in four appearances.
The Rockies wanted him to build up his pitch count to the starter level. Chatwood suffered a chest muscle injury shortly after arriving in Colorado Springs and has gone 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA in nine games.
"I was getting stretched back out, and I feel good about where my stuff is right now," Chatwood said. "It's just being able to throw every pitch for a strike. I was doing that a little inconsistent when I was up here at the beginning. That was out of the bullpen. I had never pitched out of the bullpen, but I'm back in starting realm."
Sunday would have been Cabrera's turn to start, but that was unlikely to happen. Cabrera had been pitching in a five-man rotation at Tulsa, and he would have had to throw on three days' rest. Tracy did not elaborate beyond saying that Sunday's starter is "still to be determined."
Pomeranz originally was scheduled to start for Colorardo Springs on Saturday night at Sacramento, but that has been switched to righty Alex White. That's a further sign that the Rockies are planning on starting Pomeranz on Sunday.
Pomeranz was 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five starts for the Rockies before the club sent him to Colorado Springs to work on regaining his proper throwing motion.
Pomeranz, 23, has over-matched Triple-A hitters with his ability, and he is reducing some of the high pitch counts that concerned the Rockies. He is 4-4 with a 2.51 ERA in nine starts. He last pitched on Sunday.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.