DENVER -- Lefty Tyler Anderson returned to the Rockies' active roster with an eventful but scoreless ninth inning during Thursday's 10-3 loss to the D-backs. When he will return to the starting rotation should be known in the coming days.Anderson (3-5, 5.75 ERA), who hadn't pitched for the club since May
DENVER -- Lefty Tyler Anderson returned to the Rockies' active roster with an eventful but scoreless ninth inning during Thursday's 10-3 loss to the D-backs. When he will return to the starting rotation should be known in the coming days.
Anderson (3-5, 5.75 ERA), who hadn't pitched for the club since May 30 because of left knee inflammation, walked the first batter he faced and yielded a hit, but fanned three in a 24-pitch inning. It was his first relief appearance since 2010, his sophomore year at the University of Oregon.
"It was weird, getting loose and you think there were two outs, then a couple pitching changes and then you end up throwing 45 pitches down there," Anderson said.
Anderson replaced righty Carlos Estevez, who was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque to continue to work on delivery issues. The Rockies list Anderson and five other starters, but manager Bud Black said he plans to go with a five-man rotation.
The Rockies plan to manipulate the rotation, mainly to ration out the innings of young starters, none of whom has reached a Major League workload -- roughly 180 or more innings.
German Marquez tossed 187 1/3 innings across three levels last year. Jeff Hoffman threw 150 in a 2016 that he finished in the Majors, and Kyle Freeland threw 162 in the Minors. Antonio Senzatela was held to 34 2/3 in a '16 that saw him shut down twice with right shoulder inflammation and miss time because of the death of his mother in Venezuela, but he threw 154 the previous year.
"We, meaning the pitching coaches and the organization, will take some steps to ensure that physically they're gonna be able to withstand it," Black said. "And I think that when you do it … I think that handles the mental part simultaneously."
Black said that while in theory each pitcher has an innings limit this year, the team "might not" let them get to that cap. And there are quality reinforcements en route. Anderson is back, righty Jon Gray (left foot navicular stress fracture) could be back after Saturday's rehab start at Albuquerque, and Chad Bettis -- recovering from testicular cancer -- could be throwing simulated games in two weeks, which would leave him a few rehab starts from a return.
"You'd like to be eight or nine deep in starters. That's where we'd like to think that we are," Black said. "If you take the five guys who are in the rotation now and then you pick up Anderson, Gray and Bettis, there's eight starters."
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. 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**.