Chacin prepares for first big league start

Chacin prepares for first big league start

DENVER -- Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin has shown talent in small snippets since the club snatched him up from Double-A Tulsa on July 24.

Now it's time for a longer look.

With Aaron Cook's next start pushed back because of a hyperextended right big toe, manager Jim Tracy announced Monday night that Chacin will start on Tuesday against the Pirates in the opener of a three-game series at Coors Field.

Chacin threw a career-high two innings in Saturday night's 6-5 loss to the Cubs. Kosuke Fukudome's home run off him was the first run Chacin allowed to score in four appearances. Now, he will make his maiden start.

Tracy indicated during the weekend he was leaning toward using dependable right-hander Josh Fogg (0-1, 2.17 ERA). Interestingly, Tracy's trust in Fogg was one of the reasons Chacin ended up receiving the starting nod.

Tracy felt that if a starter struggled and needed multiple bullpen innings, he'd rather Fogg, with far greater experience in the Majors, pitch those. The combination of Chacin starting with Fogg ready to rescue him if necessary protects Chacin, 21, and the rest of the bullpen.

"With this kid being the prospect that he is, I think it's more important that he be protected vs. being unprotected," Tracy said.

Of course, the Rockies are projecting Chacin as a major piece of their pitching future. Chacin was rated by Baseball America magazine as the No. 2 prospect in the organization this offseason, after he won 18 games at two Class A levels last year.

Chacin was 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA, with 86 strikeouts in 18 starts, at Tulsa before the callup.

"I have all the confidence in the world in Jhoulys Chacin," Tracy said. "I think he's going to do a great job."

Pitching matchup
COL: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (0-0, 1.80 ERA)
Chacin, called up from Double-A Tulsa on July 24, has shown a good fastball and changeup in his four relief appearances, plus beyond-his-years mound presence during Spring Training. He's also developed a slider that he has used at the Major League level.

PIT: RHP Ross Ohlendorf (9-8, 4.29 ERA)
Ohlendorf left his last start with a one-run lead, but was handed a no-decision as the Diamondbacks rallied late. Ohlendorf gave up just one run on four hits in six innings, with manager John Russell saying after the game that the next step for Ohlendorf is to get a little more efficient so he can pitch deeper into games. The righty has one start against the Rockies this season and took a defeat by giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings.

Rockies vice president of scouting Bill Schmidt said there is "nothing to report" in the club's negotiations with its first-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, left-handed pitcher Tyler Matzek of Capastrano Valley (Calif.) High School. Matzek also has signed with the University of Oregon. The Rockies have a week to complete negotiations, or else they lose control of the player. ... Second baseman Clint Barmes is in a 4-for-52 slump, with all of his hits being home runs. He also has been hit by a pitch four times in the past 11 games. ... The Rockies' 16 hits in Monday's game were one shy of a season high. ... Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's seven RBIs on Monday were one shy of the club record. Eight RBIs in a game has been achieved four times, the last by Matt Holliday on Sept. 20, 2005, against the Padres.

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Up next
• Wednesday: Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez, 9-9, 3.65) vs. Pirates (Kevin Hart, 3-1, 2.94), 6:40 p.m. MT
• Thursday: Rockies (Jason Marquis, 12-8, 3.65) vs. Pirates (Paul Maholm, 6-6, 4.76), 1:10 p.m. MT
• Friday: Rockies (Jason Hammel, 7-6, 4.66) at Marlins (Josh Johnson, 11-2, 2.92), 5:10 p.m. MT

Thomas Harding is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.