With the return of Jhoulys Chacin from the disabled list last month, the Rockies reverted to using a five-man rotation, saying in part it was because Chacin had been on the disabled list since May 1, and Drew Pomeranz was suffering from some soreness. On Friday, however, the Rockies, who decided to use a four-man starting rotation in late June, said they will continue to use the traditional five-man rotation next year. The team will continue to use three hybrid relievers, as they refer to a reliever who works on a set schedule and has been called on when a starter gets to a point where he will be facing a lineup for the third time in the game. Bill Geivett, assistant general manager, met with the Rockies players to explain the plan on Friday afternoon, and afterward briefed the media.
While the Rockies have had a quasi-75 pitch limit in the four-man alignment, they will allow pitchers to throw between 90 and 100 pitches in the new approach. Beginning with Jeff Francis start on Aug. 17, the Rockies have been in a five-man rotation in which Francis, Tyler Chatwood, Pomeranz, Alex White and Chacin have worked with at least four days off between starts. Part of the Rockies decision to experiment with the four-man during the season was the fact their top three starters were on the disabled list. Jorge De La Rosa, recovering from Tommy John surgery last year, has yet to appear in a big-league game, although he is currently on a Minor-League rehab assignment. Chacin went on the disabled list after a May 1 start because of problems with a nerve in his right pectoral that impacted his right arm. He returned to the active roster on Aug. 21. Nicasio, who came back from suffering a fractured vertebrae in his neck in August of 2011, injured his left knee on June 2, and underwent microfracture surgery. The game workload won't be much different in the return to the five-man rotation, but the move will afford less bullpen time between starts. Under the traditional five-man, with a 100-pitch guideline, a pitcher would make six starts and throw 600 pitches with six bullpen sessions in a four-week period, while with the four-man and a 75-pitch limit, a pitcher would make eight starts and throw 600 pitches, but also would have seven bullpen sessions.
Tracy Ringolsby is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.