The Rockies have a plan in place for the rotation over the next week.
Manager Jim Tracy said Juan Nicasio would get a second start, Friday at San Francisco, and that Aaron Cook would make a final rehab start for Class AAA Colorado Springs on Thursday before starting for the Rockies on June 8 at San Diego.
The decision not only gives Cook extra time to build up arm strength in his recovery from a broken right ring finger and right shoulder inflammation, but it also allows the Rockies to get another look at Nicasio, an impressive rookie.
Nicasio was recalled from Class AA Tulsa and made his major league debut Saturday against the Cardinals. The Rockies staked him to a six-run lead in the first en route to a 15-4 win. Regardless, Nicasio was impressive, allowing one unearned run in seven innings, showing an ability to command his fastball down in the strike zone.
Cook made a rehab start Saturday for Class AAA Colorado Springs after three rehab outings with Tulsa. Cook has had more success against the Padres than any team in his career, and he has thrived at Petco Park. He's 14-4 with a 2.86 ERA against the Padres in 25 games, 23 starts, and 7-1 with a 2.21 ERA in 11 starts at Petco.
Tracy said the additional rehab start would give Cook a chance to build up his stamina. Cook did throw 99 pitches in 7 2/3 innings Saturday.
If Nicasio does well Thursday, it's likely he would be earn a spot in the rotation. His stuff is significantly better than that of Clayton Mortensen, who starts Tuesday at Los Angeles. If the Rockies decide to keep Nicasio in the rotation, they could move Mortensen into the long relief-role currently occupied by Greg Reynolds, or they could return Mortensen to Colorado Springs if they want him to stay stretched out as a starter and pitch every fifth game.
One starter who is unlikely to be bumped from the rotation is Jason Hammel, although he was hammered by the Dodgers on Monday. Hammel allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings, leaving him winless in six May starts. He went 0-4 in the month, though his ERA was just 4.42.
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