Fowler, Street near return

Fowler, Street near return to Rockies

DENVER -- The Rockies saw continued progress from three of the key players on their roster Monday, as Opening Day starter Aaron Cook and rookie leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler both got a step closer to coming off the disabled list, and closer Huston Street set his sights on returning to the bullpen this weekend against the Padres.

"It won't be good news until I'm pitching in games," Street said Monday after he threw light catch from 60 feet with head athletic trainer Keith Dugger and came out of it feeling good. It was Street's first time throwing the ball since he experienced biceps tendinitis when warming up to enter last Wednesday's game with the Mets.

"The first couple [throws], and understandably so, there was a little tentativeness to it," manager Jim Tracy said. "It built from there. There was nothing to discourage us at all."

Tracy is hopeful that Street can progress to the point that he is ready to get back in a game when the Rockies head to San Diego this weekend, most likely using him initially in an earlier inning than his customary ninth-inning role, and keeping Franklin Morales in the role he's filled since Street has been inactive.

"We would like to find a spot for [Street] sometime between now and before [going to] San Francisco [after the Padres series], rather than to have his first go-round in San Francisco," Tracy said. "I think that's doing a disservice to the player. With what's at stake and the magnitude of that and the guy dealing with what he's dealing with, we'll see.

"I would use him in a lesser inning," Tracy added. "We'll see how it is and allow him the opportunity to have some space to check some things out for himself. Yes, I would strongly consider that."

Fowler is raring to get back in the lineup, and will complete a three-day rehab assignment with Double-A Tulsa on Monday. He played the field for seven innings Saturday, then had a day as designated hitter Sunday.

"He struck out a couple times and walked once as a DH," Tracy said. "His rehab plan has not changed at all. He's scheduled to play nine innings today."

The plan concludes with Fowler returning to Denver on Tuesday for reevaluation, and if all goes well, he eligible to be reactivated in time for Tuesday's game with the Reds.

Aaron Cook was set to play catch with Dugger at a distance of up to 100 feet Monday.

"He's making strides, no question about it," Tracy said. "I'm not suggesting that we're trying to over-push either [Street or Cook]. We're just moving forward with the plan of attack from a rehab standpoint that Keith has put in place. It's a day-to-day type thing with both guys."

The Rockies have filled the roles splendidly recently, bumping Carlos Gonzalez from the two-hole to leadoff, where he has hit .357 (10-for-28) with three homers entering Monday since returning to the lineup in San Francisco last Sunday, following a minor hand injury, and moving Morales to the closer role. Morales has recorded three saves in three appearances, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out three in three scoreless innings, and the Rockies picked up Jose Contreras to take Cook's spot in the rotation, where he pitched 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball for the win Saturday.

"I don't care what organization it is in baseball, when you play 162 games, especially when you get in the months of August and September, the depth and the strength of your organization is going to be tested," Tracy said. "It happens every single year. [We've shown] the ability to have the resiliency that we're talking about, because we have some strength in numbers, and [we've] gone out and made a couple of acquisitions that helps to enhance all those other things. That's where you end up benefiting."

Owen Perkins is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.