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Rockies' chances crumble, so Chacin is moved back

The Sports Xchange
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Because of concerns about his health and his workload, the Rockies are going to give Jhoulys Chacin ample rest and not have him start until Sept. 9 against the Reds.

Chacin was scheduled to start Saturday at San Diego. But Chacin has had a fever and a tonsil inflammation, so the Rockies originally pushed his start back two days to Labor Day at Coors Field, when the Rockies face the Diamondbacks.

But after being swept in three games in Arizona, a series that snuffed out the Rockies' already faint division-title hopes, there is no urgency to pitch Chacin and every reason to wait until he is healthy and, by so doing, reduce his workload.

Chacin, 23, has pitched 170 innings for the Rockies this season. He ended 2010 slightly above that figure, finishing with 173 innings combined with Triple-A Colorado Springs (35 2/3), where the innings are less stressful, and the Rockies (137 1/3).

"They said, 'We know you can still pitch like normal, but we want you to finish the season healthy; don't worry about it,' " said Chacin, who is 11-10 with a 3.60 ERA and has won his last two starts.

Chacin has emerged as the Rockies' best pitcher this season in the wake of Jorge De La Rosa's season-ending elbow injury in late May and the early struggles and eventual trade of Ubaldo Jimenez.

Chacin will be a key member of the Rockies' 2012 rotation, very possibly their Opening Day starter, so they want to be very careful with his workload.

"There's going to be that natural progression," pitching coach Bob Apodaca said. "You want to increase his innings incrementally. A final number, I don't know. We're going to be very, very cautious, especially with him being sick the last few days."

Chacin's only stated goal entering the season was to pitch 200 innings. If he returns Sept. 9, Chacin could make four more starts in the regular season and reach that goal. It's more likely that he comes close.

After Kevin Millwood starts Friday at San Diego, Alex White and Aaron Cook will start the final two games of the series against the Padres.

Esmil Rogers is in line to start Monday at Coors Field against the Diamondbacks, but the Rockies will have to come up with a starter for Tuesday's game against Arizona.

That assignment probably will go to Jason Hammel, who has made three relief appearances since White replaced him in the rotation Aug. 23.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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