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Chatwood may return to rotation this weekend

DENVER -- Nearly three weeks removed from competitive baseball, everything went smoothly for starter Tyler Chatwood in his Tuesday night rehab start with Triple-A Colorado Springs, putting him in prime position to rejoin the Rockies' rotation this weekend.

Chatwood allowed just one run on five hits over 5 1/3 innings, striking out four and walking two while throwing 71 pitches. He said his right elbow felt good on Wednesday, and his command improved as the game progressed.

"It had been a while, so it was awesome to get back out there and compete again," Chatwood said. "I think it was just sharpness of my command, and my command wasn't there early. They were close misses, but early on I wasn't really getting strike one. So later on I started getting ahead and felt good."

Though Rockies manager Walt Weiss didn't offer a return date for Chatwood, he said if everything checks out with the young right-hander he plans to skip Jeff Manship's start Friday and move Jorge De La Rosa and Juan Nicasio up a day. De La Rosa would pitch Friday and Nicasio Saturday, both would be on regular rest thanks to Thursday's off-day.

At 23, Chatwood (7-4, 3.15 ERA) has been one of the Rockies' best starters this year. He credits much of that improvement to developing a slider he first worked into his repertoire last year.

He was able to throw that pitch along with all his others when he took the mound for the Sky Sox Tuesday, a positive sign that he should be back in typical form when he's activated.

"I just feel like I'm an actual pitcher and being able to control the game a little better," Chatwood said. "Before, I felt like it sped up on me. Now I feel like I can slow it down when I need to."

Chatwood landed on the disabled list Aug. 7 with right elbow impingement, and Weiss will certainly welcome him back.

"He's absolutely taken that step in my eyes," Weiss said. "Not only a big league pitcher, but an impactful one I think, a guy that can really impact the rotation. He's done a great job. He's come up here and he's given us another guy that can go out there and shut down any big league lineup, and he's done it. He's pitched some really good games, particularly in our division. So he's certainly a guy to be excited about moving forward."

Ian McCue is an associate reporter for
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