ST. LOUIS -- Rookie left-hander Christian Friedrich walked with no signs of a limp on Wednesday, meaning that his bruised right calf has recovered enough for him to start the finale of the four-game set against the Cardinals on Thursday.
Without the leg to worry about, Friedrich (4-5, 5.52 ERA) could focus on motivation. The standings say that the Rockies are a long way from playing big games, but Friedrich found reason to attack Thursday as important.
The Rockies split the first two games of the set, meaning Friedrich would either be trying to win the series or gain a split. It's preparation for the big games that he is confident he will be pitching in during his career.
"You want to win every game, but when things like that come along -- the opportunity to be the last guy before you get on the plane -- it's so much nicer to have a win, so it's a little more incentive," Friedrich said before Wednesday night's game. "It will just put us on a good path."
Friedrich, the Rockies' No. 1 Draft pick in 2008, grew up in the Chicago area and went to college at Eastern Kentucky, so some special people are in easy driving distance from St. Louis -- Jim Sakis, from whom he took lessons as a young pitcher, and Bradley University pitching coach John Corbin, who worked with Friedrich at Eastern Kentucky.