DENVER -- Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin is healthy and effective, but the Rockies want to make sure, so they're going to assign him one more injury rehab start for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday night. Chacin, coming back from a chest nerve injury that has kept him off the Major League mound since May 1, threw 84 pitches in 6 1/3 innings and showed good velocity and movement Saturday for Colorado Springs. After checking him out, the Rockies had him throw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Monday that by all reports went well. Now, Chacin will be asked to throw 85-90 pitches Thursday against Albuquerque. "I think it's just to make sure that he's definitely in the direction and path that we want him to be in, and I personally feel it's a very wise thing to do, rather than push the envelope so hard that we shove him right back," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "One extra start would be very good for him."
The volume and intensity of pitches Monday probably made it impossible for him to start against the Brewers on Wednesday, which would have worked into the Rockies' four-man rotation. The Rockies have given no indication that they're willing to back away from the paired pitching plan -- four starters, with three starter-type relievers. But Tracy said he was not going to commit to anything until seeing how Chacin checks out after Thursday's start. Chacin was 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in five starts before going to the disabled list. He is eager to start anew. "I still want to pitch well and try to get my command," Chacin said. "I did good Saturday in the Minor Leagues, and now I feel good. My arm and body feel good. "If I keep doing what I've been doing, I can get back and pitch better. I've learned from this year." The Rockies expected Chacin to key a season-opening rotation that did not have veteran lefty Jorge De La Rosa -- who is still recovering from elbow surgery last year, although he did have a strong bullpen session Monday. However, Chacin unexpectedly lost power on his fastball and his arm never felt healthy. It took numerous examinations, and finally a visit to vascular specialist Dr. Robert Thompson in St. Louis, before the nature of the problem was pinpointed. Chacin, 24, said he might have created the issue by drifting away from the "Jobe exercises" -- a program developed by noted surgeon Dr. Frank Jobe to concentrate on the smaller muscles that are more meaningful to a pitcher than the large muscle groups, which are the focus of most weight programs. Having never had arm issues before, Chacin felt he could add power by working bigger muscle groups, but he has been told his program helped create the chest injury. The Jobe exercises are back. "Now that's all I've been doing," Chacin said. "Now I feel the difference and my arm feels good."