SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who hasn't thrown a pitch in the Majors since May 1, is an evaluation away from being re-inserted into the Rockies' pitching staff, most likely in the starting rotation.
Chacin threw 84 pitches and went 6 2/3 innings for Triple-A Colorado Springs in a 5-2 home loss to Round Rock in his fourth and what was scheduled to be final rehab start for a chest nerve problem. Chacin gave up three runs, but more importantly forced 12 groundouts against two fly ball outs.
Chacin's fastball sat at 90-91 mph and touched 92, which is a velocity he could be effective at in the Majors. Manager Jim Tracy said Chacin must be checked by Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger, then the club will decide whether to put him back in the rotation -- it could happen as early as Wednesday afternoon against the Brewers -- or have him make another Triple-A start. His rehab assignment has been on the same four-day schedule the Rockies are using.
"We have not determined that yet; we want to see the player first, give him a day to see how his body responds," Tracy said.
Tracy said the Rockies aren't backing away from a four-man rotation, so they're going to have to see how Chacin does throwing repeatedly on three days' rest. If Chacin goes Wednesday, the Rockies will have to push back lefty Drew Pomeranz or do something else with the southpaw, who is penciled in for Wednesday. But Tracy said, for now, he was keeping all options open, not only including having Chacin throw in the Minors again, but even using him in the "piggy-back" role, throwing up to 50 pitches in early relief of the starter.
Chacin went into the season expected to make a stride toward stardom, but with compromised health, was 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in five starts before going to the disabled list. He and left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, are going to be expected to be rotation leaders in 2013. To have a good reading, Tracy said, the Rockies will have to see how he does in a four-man rotation.
"We've stayed with this awfully consistently here as of late," Tracy said. "In order to get a real good reading on it, if you go to five, then you're not getting a real good reading on four."