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Rockies P Tyler Chatwood injured; what does it mean for starting rotation?

The Rockies were potentially dealt a big blow on Monday when Tyler Chatwood left the team's loss against the Cincinnati Reds after four innings with a triceps injury.

Dustin Bradford

The Colorado Rockies' dilemma on what to do with their starting rotation when Jeff Francis completes his rehab assignment and Roy Oswalt finishes tuning up may have solved itself on Monday night.

That's not a good thing, folks.

Tyler Chatwood, in the midst of what appeared to be another tremendous outing, suffered a triceps injury on Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds after lasting four innings in which he allowed just one run and struck out four. Chatwood took his first loss of the season, but that was because Colorado's bats failed to join them on the first day of the short road trip.

Chatwood described the pain he felt after throwing a third-inning fastball to Shin-Soo Choo as "startling," according to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.

That same adjective could be used to describe the 23-year-old righty's turnaround in 2013. Chatwood has struck out eight batters per nine innings while walking just 2.7 en route to posting a 2.14 ERA through six starts. Perhaps even more good news hidden in those stats is that Chatwood has surrendered a .347 BABIP, which is about 25 points higher than his career average. That helps suggest that his magical 33.2 innings to start 2013 aren't a fluke.

As of right now, Chatwood plans to make his next start, but he and the Rockies won't know more until he receives further evaluation, which could be today.

If Chatwood's injury requires a stint on the disabled list, the Rockies wouldn't have to make a rotation move to reinstate Jeff Francis when his rehab assignment is complete. Francis allowed five runs in four innings in Salt Lake on Monday, and is scheduled to make another start against Reno before resuming his role with the big club.

As for Oswalt, his move to the majors could hinge on how Jon Garland performs in his start on Wednesday in Cincinnati. Garland has not been trending in a positive direction; he has allowed five earned runs in each of his last three starts and has been battered to the tune of 81 hits in 62 innings pitched this season, all while posting middling walk numbers and his usual poor strikeout rate.

That still leaves Drew Pomeranz, who has posted excellent numbers but still isn't as efficient as the Rockies would like him to be, sitting in Triple-A. Pomeranz has struck out 70 batters and walked 23 in 61.1 innings pitched, but he's averaging less than six innings per start, a number that likely won't get any better at the big-league level, where hitters are more patient.

Pomeranz could still stand to cut down the walks while limiting the number of pitches he throws before he replaces Juan Nicasio, whose leash is probably a bit longer than most people think despite his inconsistent command and lack of an out pitch.



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