SAN DIEGO -- Petco Park favors pitchers to an extreme, even to the point that Padres hitters become frustrated, and it's tough to attract hitters via free agency. There has even been talk about moving the outfield fences closer to home plate.The Rockies, of course, play in such a hitter-friendly environment that the club began storing baseballs in a temperature- and atmosphere-controlled chamber, so they don't shrink and harden in the high desert climate. That has helped normalize the park to a degree. But Rockies manager Jim Tracy refused to weigh in on any ideas for normalizing Petco by reducing the home run distance. Besides, his hands are full trying to help the Rockies even out their home and road hitting, which has been a problem throughout the history of the franchise. "You go from here to Dodger Stadium, what's the difference?" Tracy said. "Is it a smaller ballpark? It plays very similar. From there, we're going to play a couple games in [San Francisco's] AT&T Park. You see any difference there? It's the same baseball. "Rather than me weighing in on what an organization should do with their fences, it's more us being mindful that there are some adjustments we have to make collectively as far as our approach is concerned, or it's going to be a frustrating thing coming out on the road."
Numbers game springs up in Rockies' rotation
SAN DIEGO -- The Rockies began their current road trip wondering where their next starts would come from.Strong starts by callups Alex White and Christian Friedrich the last two games don't exactly mean the team has an embarrassment of riches, but the Rockies do have enough choices that the decisions are difficult. White, the Indians' first-round Draft pick in 2009 who joined the Rockies in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade last year, and Friedrich, the Rockies' top pick in 2008, were called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs for this road trip after the starters were generally dreadful in the club's 3-6 homestand. White, solid in a 3-1 loss to the Padres on Tuesday, is in line to start Monday in the opener of two games against the Giants. Friedrich threw six strong innings in Wednesday's 6-2 victory over the Padres. The problem is right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (2-1, 5.92 ERA) is scheduled to come off the disabled list for Tuesday's game against the Giants, which would be Friedrich's next turn. Guthrie has been out since suffering a sprained right shoulder in an April 28 bicycle accident. Guthrie is scheduled to throw in a Minor League rehab game for Class A Modesto at Stockton on Thursday. But manager Jim Tracy said Friedrich has earned consideration for another start. Tracy said he will announce the starting pitching plan Friday, after the club takes Thursday off. "We've got some things to talk about," Tracy said. "But you can't help to be impressed with what you saw." Friedrich said he would be willing to take the ball whenever asked. White said he and Friedrich didn't look at themselves as fill-in pitchers. "I haven't heard anything about another start but we wanted to pitch well and hang around as long as we can," White said. "We're both very good pitchers and we're here to help. We plan on being here in the future and helping this team win, and we want to do it right now. Friedrich is really good and I've made the changes I need to make to be an effective pitcher."
Nursing groin injury, Tulo takes 'smart day'
SAN DIEGO -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki did not appear in a 6-2 win over the Padres on Wednesday after feeling pain in his left groin while beating out a first-inning ground ball during 3-1 loss at Petco Park the night before."It just grabbed me," Tulowitzki said. "There's a day off tomorrow. I've got to get out of this time where I'm pushing through it. I kind of took a smart day here. It's tough because we aren't playing well. It's not an easy thing for me." Tulowitzki beat out another infield single in the game but said, "I was pushing my limits out there." The groin issue cropped up during Spring Training, but the Rockies managed his playing time. The two days off he has this time are expected to give him enough rest that he'll be ready to start Friday night at Dodger Stadium. Manager Jim Tracy said the effort Tulowitzki showed on the play, when he avoided a double play, was special. "He's safe, vs. the jog, double play, inning over and Todd Helton leading the next inning off," Tracy said. "He got us an extra hitter, which got us a run on the Helton RBI line drive to left field. It also gave us the opportunity to reload the bases [before Ramon Hernandez flied to right]. "That kind of effort, we didn't see that last year -- I'm not saying from him [Tulowitzki] but in general. We're creating opportunities for ourselves that way. We just need to cash in on that." Marco Scutaro moved from second base to shortstop in Tulowitzki's absence and Jonathan Herrera started at second. Chris Nelson started at third after sitting out the first two games of the series with left wrist soreness, which has bothered him for about two weeks. Veterans Helton and Hernandez also sat, with Jason Giambi playing first base and Wilin Rosario catching. Dexter Fowler returned to center field after giving way to Tyler Colvin on Tuesday.
Young expected to rejoin Rockies next week
SAN DIEGO -- Rockies utilityman Eric Young Jr.'s time on the Major League Baseball bereavement list expires Saturday, but that's the day of services for his late grandfather. So the club will send him to the complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., for conditioning before joining the team next Wednesday.Young, who is hitting .286 with a double, a triple and four stolen bases in mostly late-innings spark-plug duty, will be activated for a two-game series with the D-backs Wednesday and Thursday at Coors Field. He was placed on the bereavement list on Saturday. "We're going to send him to Arizona for three days so he can play some games," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "We've got to get him an opportunity to get back on his legs for a few days." Young took to Twitter on Tuesday to thank fans for supporting him: "Miss playin' a bunch. Fortunate to be with my family in this time of sadness tho! Thx again 4 prayers! I'll be back w/extra motivation."
Center fielder Tyler Colvin's fielding error on a bouncing ball during Tuesday night's game was the eighth outfield error for the Rockies this season. The number is unusually high, but manager Jim Tracy doesn't see it as the sign of a major problem. Tracy said there have been a number of plays when the outfielder lost the ball in the lights or the sun."Those are not mistakes anybody is trying to make," Tracy said. "As a matter of fact, they're trying to make an effort to make plays and batting some things. If it's blatant inability to be involved in the position it would be one thing, but we're talking about bona-fide, big-time outfield guys with strong capabilities. I'm not really concerned about that. There are other thing that are more important to get squared away." Tracy said the bigger issue has been defensive inconsistency, which tends to affect defensive concentration. Right-hander Adam Ottavino made two appearances and stayed in the strike zone throughout, yet the Rockies sent him down to Triple-A Colorado Springs to make room for left-hander Christian Friedrich, who made his Major League debut Wednesday. "It was an extremely difficult decision, I'll leave it at that," Tracy said of Ottavino. "This kid has shown himself very well -- beyond well." The Rockies kept right-hander Carlos Torres, who also has pitched well since being called up from Colorado Springs (two perfect innings). Torres was insurance in case Friedrich struggled in his debut, or veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer struggles Friday night against the Dodgers.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.