MIAMI -- Right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles returned to the Rockies on Monday feeling he is in position to reverse a rough start to his Major League season.Needing a long reliever with Eddie Butler replacing Tyler Chatwood (mid-back strain) in the starting rotation, the Rockies recalled Lyles from Triple-A Albuquerque.Lyles' last
MIAMI -- Right-handed pitcher Jordan Lyles returned to the Rockies on Monday feeling he is in position to reverse a rough start to his Major League season.
Needing a long reliever with Eddie Butler replacing Tyler Chatwood (mid-back strain) in the starting rotation, the Rockies recalled Lyles from Triple-A Albuquerque.
Lyles' last Rockies appearance was a 2 1/3-inning misadventure at Pittsburgh that saw him give up six runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks. Lyles also left Pirates pitcher Ryan Vogelsong with facial fractures after hitting him in the face with a fastball.
Since returning to Albuquerque's starting rotation, Lyles has gone 3-1 with a 5.47 ERA, recording 14 strikeouts and nine walks over 24 2/3 innings. He lasted seven and 7 1/3 innings in two of the starts, and Lyles believes he has corrected some of the issues that led to a 1-2 record and 8.55 ERA in five Major League games, all starts.
The Rockies originally optioned Lyles to Albuquerque on April 25. They recalled him for relief work, but a rainout forced them to start him in a makeup game against the Pirates. Lyles was optioned after the start.
"The good side of being down there is it's kind of like Spring Training -- get your work in and do what you want to do," Lyles said. "My last outing, I wanted to throw 20-plus changeups, and that went pretty well. I'm in a good place throwing it.
"Along with my changeup, finding my target and getting to my target with my fastball, those were the two main things while I was down there. Last few starts, I felt like I did a good job working on them."
The Rockies recalled and used righty Scott Oberg for two scoreless relief innings in Sunday's 3-0 loss to the Marlins, but the need for a reliever who could pitch multiple innings consistently dictated that Lyles (who made the flight with Oberg) would be activated, and Oberg was optioned Monday.
Regular long reliever Christian Bergman is on the disabled list with a left oblique strain. He will start an injury rehab assignment Wednesday for Albuquerque.
Butler starting again
Rockies manager Walt Weiss made it official that Butler (2-4, 6.26 ERA) will start Thursday at home against the D-backs. Butler entered Saturday's game when Chatwood left with a back injury and gave up six runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings. Two of the hits were home runs.
"Last time out, he had some pitches elevated, especially breaking balls, but he's been throwing the ball pretty well," Weiss said.
Keeping it positive
Rockies players met in the clubhouse after Sunday's 3-0 loss. No player discussed the meeting publicly; however, indications were it was more a keep-the-faith session rather than a chewing out. The Rockies were one-hit in the first game and shut out in the third of a four-game set at Miami, where struggling offensively is something of a tradition.
Weiss also kept a calm front.
"Just keep plugging away -- keep working, keep preparing, and once you get out there, it's time to perform and execute," Weiss said.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.