Rehabbing pitchers give Rockies good news

DENVER -- Coors Field was empty of fans but full of hope Tuesday afternoon. The @Rockies Twitter account chronicled for the world starting pitchers Brett Anderson and Tyler Chatwood, and relievers Boone Logan and Rafael Betancourt all throwing live batting practice sessions:

With a packed disabled list, the team on a seven-game losing streak going into Tuesday night's matchup against the Cardinals, and plans Wednesday for Yohan Flade to become the team's 12 starting pitcher used this year, guys throwing to hitters with a batting cage behind them definitely can be called good news.

And Logan -- placed on the 15-day disabled list June 5 with left elbow inflammation -- believes he could even do without the two rehab appearances the team has prescribed for him, although he'll follow the orders.

"If I had a say, I'd say, 'Let's rock n roll,' but I have to wait," said Logan, who is the closest of the pitchers to making a return. "This is my first time dealing with this kind of stuff."

Logan threw his fastball and slider, and above all, felt no pain. After finishing last season with the Yankees, Logan underwent surgery to remove bone chips and a bone spur from his left elbow. He thought he was fine but felt more pain with each appearance and was 1-1 with a 5.87 ERA in 21 appearances before the Rockies sent him to the disabled list.

"That's very refreshing, to be able to throw without pain," Logan said.

It's unclear how close Anderson (broken left index finger) and Chatwood (strained right flexor tendon) are to returning. Each threw two innings, 15 pitches apiece. Anderson said the schedule calls for another live batting-practice session Friday in Milwaukee and a bullpen session Sunday. Anderson believes he would be ready for a Minor League rehab assignment after that.

Anderson was happy with his two-inning session, with 15 pitches in each interval.

"The first set was kind of adrenaline-packed," Anderson said. "You were only pitching to your teammates and guys sitting around and watching. But just getting out there on the game mound and facing guys gets you a little adrenaline and almost taking off a little bit. But I settled down in the second set and I was back to normal, back to doing what I was supposed to do.

"I felt like I could have gone longer today, which is a good sign. I didn't have any fatigue, especially here in Denver. I feel good. I'll keep progressing and take it one day at a time."

Chatwood reported tightness in the forearm after throwing but said he'll assess how he feels Wednesday. Anderson and Chatwood will have to build to around 100 pitches before being considered for Major League duty.

"We had a bunch of guys out here throwing today," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It's good, it means they are progressing and actually facing some hitters. It'a big step."

Betancourt is coming off Tommy John surgery last September. Because he is under Minor League contract, there is no deadline on his return. He hopes to pitch at Rookie-level Grand Junction around July 1 and can climb the Minor League system. It's possible he can return to the Majors before season's end.

Additionally, righty Eddie Butler (right rotator cuff inflammation) has resumed a throwing program and soon will be throwing bullpen sessions.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.