Chacin likely to return to rotation next week

Chacin likely to return to rotation next week

DENVER -- Based on his superb rehab start in Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday night, Jhoulys Chacin should return to the Rockies' rotation early next week for the first time since going on the disabled list May 6 with right shoulder inflammation.

"That would be the plan," manager Jim Tracy said before Thursday's series opener with the Marlins and before Chacin's start against Albuquerque. "We'll wait and see how he does tonight. But the plan moving forward is to eventually, if all goes well like it's gone the last couple of times that he's been out, if he has a good outing tonight and comes away cleanly from a health standpoint, we're going to figure something out and work him in.

"There's a possibility of working him in [to the rotation] in New York [next week]. That's a strong possibility."

The possibility looked like a certainty after Chacin threw seven innings of one-run ball, yielding five hits and three walks while improving to 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA in two starts at Triple-A. He threw 91 pitches, 55 for strikes.

The 24-year-old Chacin was the No. 3 starter when the Rockies opened the season, but he went 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA in his first five starts. He is in his fourth big league season, having won 20 games over the past two seasons while posting an ERA of 3.28 in 2010, and 3.62 in '11.

Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa is also making progress as he works back from the Tommy John surgery that ended his 2011 season.

"Jorge De La Rosa threw a 45-pitch bullpen [session] today," Tracy said. "My understanding is that he was turning the fastball loose pretty good today. He was letting it go, which is really encouraging to hear."

Of the 45 pitches De La Rosa threw, the first 40 were fastballs and changeups, with some curves mixed in among his final five pitches.

De La Rosa, 31, has a career 54-49 record with a 4.90 ERA. He has pitched for Colorado since 2008, winning 39 games, including a career-high 16 in 2009.

In other injury news, rookie infielder Josh Rutledge continues to nurse a sore left quad, and Dexter Fowler was out of the lineup with a tight back.

"He's been dealing with this for the last couple days, but [head athletic trainer Keith Dugger] felt fairly strongly that it would be a pretty good idea to back off him for a day and let [the training staff] do some things to him," Tracy said of Fowler. "Hopefully we'll have him back tomorrow."