DENVER -- The massaging of the Rockies' starting rotation has begun. Lefty Tyler Anderson, who returned Thursday with a relief inning after missing three weeks with left knee inflammation, will rejoin the rotation Sunday against the Dodgers, Rockies manager Bud Black said after Friday night's 6-1 loss at Dodger Stadium.Right-hander
DENVER -- The massaging of the Rockies' starting rotation has begun. Lefty Tyler Anderson, who returned Thursday with a relief inning after missing three weeks with left knee inflammation, will rejoin the rotation Sunday against the Dodgers, Rockies manager Bud Black said after Friday night's 6-1 loss at Dodger Stadium.
Right-hander German Marquez has had his next scheduled start moved from Sunday to Monday in San Francisco.
With Kyle Freeland having started -- and struggled -- in Friday's series opener, it means the Rockies will start left-handers in two of three games this weekend against the Dodgers, who have struggled vs. lefties.
Black acknowledge the team can be creative going forward because of the rotation depth that is looming. Anderson is back; righty Jon Gray, who has missed nine weeks with a navicular stress fracture of the left foot, will make possibly his last injury rehab start Saturday; and righty Chad Bettis is a few weeks away after needing chemotherapy for his bout with testicular cancer.
Marquez (5-3, 3.92 ERA) said he is fine with whatever the Rockies ask. He was even available out of the bullpen on Friday, though he didn't appear.
"For whatever we need, whatever comes, I'm going to be there," said Marquez, who held the D-backs to one run and four hits in six innings while winning his last start. "I don't think it will be any different if I throw out of the 'pen.
"Last year, my first game was in relief, then I had two more, then I started. Absolutely, I'm going to be more comfortable. We have some veterans [to help]."
Anderson gave up a walk and a hit to start the ninth inning of Thursday's 10-3 loss to the D-backs, but he struck out the next three and emerged from his first relief outing since college scoreless. Anderson said he is fine to start a game. He will continue to use the brace on his left knee for support, but the knee is no longer an issue.
With the Rockies looking like a contender but using four rookie starters -- Freeland, Marquez, Jeff Hoffman and Antonio Senzatela -- raises concerns about innings loads.
The last two seasons, the Rockies capped innings for Gray, Hoffman, Freeland and Marquez. In 2015, they shut down Gray early. Last year, they used bullpen outings to reduce the innings for Freeland and Marquez.
With eight starters, the Rockies potentially could use various means -- such as an option to the Minors for bullpen sessions but not game action -- to save enough innings to have all their starters available for what they hope is a playoff run.
"You can ration it out if needed, and we might have the luxury to do that if Jon Gray comes back and performs, if Tyler Anderson jumps back in the rotation and performs, if Chad Bettis -- that's still a ways away -- comes back and pitches like he did last year," Black said. "That collection of eight is something that we feel good about."
• Black said right fielder Carlos Gonzalez didn't start Friday because of right shoulder soreness. He is considered day to day. Raimel Tapia started in Gonzalez's place.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.