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Colorado Rockies prospect Eddie Butler shut down with shoulder fatigue

Cross another one off the list.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Rockies right-hander Eddie Butler will be shut down for a couple of days and is out of the race for the team's rotation to the start the season, according to Nick Groke of The Denver Post. Butler didn't undergo an MRI, per Groke, but a team doctor cleared the 2012 first-rounder of any structural damage.

Butler labored through a first inning that included two hits, two walks and a run scored before departing after 18 pitches. During the inning, Butler in a span of three pitches felt "something off" in his throwing shoulder twice.

"It was feeling weird," Butler told Groke. "This is all new to me."

Butler was hesitant to mention anything about the injury at first but relented, letting the Rockies' training staff know about the abnormal feeling. Manager Walt Weiss praised Butler's decision to say something.

"Because of the shoulder issue he had last year, it probably scared him when he felt something there," Weiss told Groke. "He did the right thing."

Butler was shelved for a month after injuring his rotator cuff in his major league debut last June. The 23-year-old prospect was never quite right in 2014, posting a 4.00 ERA with just 5.3 SO/9 in 117 minor league innings and a 6.75 ERA with three strikeouts in 16 MLB frames. But he showed signs this spring of returning to his old self and was a near lock to start the season in the rotation prior to the latest shoulder issue.

The Rockies are down to three healthy starters -- Kyle Kendrick, Jordan Lyles and Tyler Matzek -- in their rotation. Other options to join the starting five by the time Opening Day rolls around include Christian Bergman, Jon Gray, Chad Bettis and John Lannan.

Bergman, despite not pitching well in his last outing, is probably the front runner due to his big league experience and makeup, which the Rockies really like. Bettis finished up his second straight effective appearance on Tuesday, perhaps cementing his case for the final spot.