DENVER -- The Rockies moved left-hander Chris Rusin into the starting rotation after seeing him pitch 9 2/3 scoreless innings in his last three relief appearances, and optioned scuffling starter Jordan Lyles to Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday.The Rockies also activated Nick Hundley from the seven-day concussion disabled list, optioned catcher
DENVER -- The Rockies moved left-hander Chris Rusin into the starting rotation after seeing him pitch 9 2/3 scoreless innings in his last three relief appearances, and optioned scuffling starter Jordan Lyles to Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday.
The Rockies also activated Nick Hundley from the seven-day concussion disabled list, optioned catcher Dustin Garneau to Albuquerque and recalled righty reliever Scott Oberg from Triple-A.
Rusin, who hoped to compete for the season-opening rotation but had to scale back because he missed much of Spring Training with left middle finger inflammation, will start on Friday at Arizona. Last year, Rusin started 22 of his 24 appearances, and went 6-10 with a 5.33 ERA and two complete games. Rusin's pitch count is not quite at starter level; he expects to be limited to about 65 pitches against the D-backs.
Rusin gave up three runs in one inning at Arizona in his first relief outing, but in the three games since, he arrested potential blowouts and gave the Rockies a chance to win each game. A key for Rusin is not making too much of any situation, so he's taking the scheduled start in stride.
"That's the best way to go about it because things change so much throughout the year," Rusin said. "You can't make too much of switching roles."
Manager Walt Weiss said Lyles (1-1, 7.64 ERA) being sent out because the nature of his struggles -- 11 walks to nine strikeouts, 22 hits in 17 2/3 innings -- was something the club hadn't seen the last two years.
"We've got to get Jordan right and it's tough to do at the Major League level, going out there every fifth day," Weiss said. "We know it's in there. We saw it a week ago in Cincinnati and we've seen it plenty in the past."
Lyles' victory, last week when he went seven innings against the Reds, was the only time he has made it as far as the fifth inning. After Sunday's 2 2/3-inning start against the Dodgers, Lyles searched for reasons.
"I think it's how I finish, delivery-wise," Lyles said. "I'm falling off a little bit too much, maybe trying to get too much movement on my pitches. I've just got to get our catchers over the plate a little bit more and let the action take care of itself."
Oberg was 0-0 with a 4.70 ERA and 2-for-2 on save chances in six appearances at Albuquerque.
Garneau, beaten out by Tony Wolters in Spring Training for the backup catcher job, went 4-for-10 with three doubles in three games during his callup.
• Hundley, who last played on April 13, returned with extra padding in his hockey goalie-style mask. The forehead area had an extra absorption layer in addition to a thicker pad, and more padding was added to the jaw area.
• Center fielder and leadoff man Charlie Blackmon, slated to return on Friday (the day he is eligible) from turf toe in his left foot, is scheduled to play seven innings on Tuesday for Class A Modesto at Visalia, and is set for nine innings in the same venue on Wednesday.
• Righty Jason Motte, a candidate to be the closer before he strained a right shoulder late in Spring Training, will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday at the team's training facility in Scottsdale, Ariz.
• Lefty starting pitching prospect Tyler Anderson (right oblique strain) will throw a three-inning simulated game of about 50 pitches, and lefty Tyler Matzek (anxiety) will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday and is on the cusp of facing hitters. Both events will occur in Scottsdale.
• Righty reliever Miguel Castro, on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain, threw a weighted ball on Monday and is scheduled to play catch on Wednesday at Coors Field.
•Infielder Daniel Descalso (left hand fracture) visited hand specialist Dr. Donald Sheridan in Scottsdale on Monday and hopes to be cleared for baseball activities.