DENVER -- A Rockies rotation that has been riddled with injuries is finally being offered some clarity as the team approaches the All-Star break.
With Eddie Butler (right rotator cuff inflammation) making his first rehab appearance Saturday and Jordan Lyles (broken non-pitching hand) set to start his Minor League assignment on Friday, manager Walt Weiss has begun to plot out the Rockies' rotation for the second half.
The Rockies want Butler to make at least one more rehab start following Saturday's 60-pitch outing with Class A Advanced Modesto. His second will come with Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday and he's scheduled for 75-80 pitches. If all goes well, Weiss said Butler is "absolutely" an option to return to the Majors on July 22, the first day the team needs a fifth starter out of the break.
At the moment, the Rockies only have left-handers Jorge De La Rosa, Tyler Matzek and Franklin Morales penciled into their rotation. Left-hander Brett Anderson will return Sunday from his broken left index finger to give the Rockies a fourth starter, but the team will have to clear space for him on the 40-man roster first.
If all goes according to plan, Morales will remain in the rotation for at least one more start before Lyles takes over. The Rockies want Lyles to make three rehab starts, but after the second, there is a possibility he could start for the big league club on a pitch count on July 28, much like what the team is planning to do with Anderson.
The Rockies also have left-hander Yohan Flande and right-hander Jair Jurrjens ready in Triple-A should anything go wrong. For the first time in a long time, it looks like the Rockies will have options.
"There are still some things up in the air and some things that need to fall into place, but at least we have some names that we're looking to plug in," Weiss said.
Cody Ulm is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.