SAN DIEGO -- Before this spring, left-hander Christian Friedrich had barely been heard from since the Rockies made him their first-round Draft pick in 2008. Because of injuries and inconsistency, Friedrich hadn't even made it as far as Triple-A.So Friedrich, 24, went to some of the biggest names in pitching for help. Friedrich spent a few days this winter working out with the Phillies' Cliff Lee in Little Rock, Ark. He had lunch with former Rockies all-star Mike Hampton during Spring Training, to talk about confidence and aggressiveness. Rockies veteran Jamie Moyer had his locker beside Friedrich and passed on sports psychology tips. Now Friedrich can make a name for himself. Called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs after starting the year 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts, Friedrich will make his Major League debut for the Rockies on Wednesday against the Padres in the finale of a three-game series at Petco Park. With the Rockies' rotation struggling this year, and with the Rockies needing to hit on some selections in the First-Year Player Draft -- for payroll control and, frankly, for their drafting and player development's reputation -- Friedrich could be a big help. "They were probably excited in the beginning, but probably a little disappointed the last two years -- one year it was because of injuries and last year I just didn't have enough consistency," Friedrich said. "Getting up here is what I've wanted to do. This is what they've expected, and I hadn't met those expectations." The workouts with Lee gave Friedrich conditioning ideas and reinforced the importance of a downhill plane, although Friedrich said he emulated Lee a little too much in Spring Training and had to go back to some of what was more comfortable.
Hampton taught Friedrich to believe he has the upper hand on the hitter and be aggressive -- advice that helped Friedrich pitch inside with greater effectiveness.Moyer, a disciple of the late sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman, taught Friedrich to correct himself positively. "Once he got over that initial kind of awe, the conversations that we did have were very positive," Moyer said. "He was very willing to share some of his experiences, good and bad." Friedrich said he stopped focusing on results, in favor of learning. The two ended up going hand-in-hand at Colorado Springs. "I'm always trying to learn, but even more now," Friedrich said. "Everything happens for a reason. If every mistake that happens and you learn from it, then a positive outlook comes from it. Instead of freaking out about giving up runs, figure out why you gave up the runs so you don't do it again.
"What kind of game plan? They were swinging early because they don't' want to get to your curveball. So how about making a quality fastball? You don't have to throw off-speed, just make quality pitches. It's a different mindset."
To clear a roster spot for Friedrich, the Rockies sent right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino to Colorado Springs. Ottavino threw 2 2/3 perfect innings in two games during his callup.
Guthrie says shoulder '100 percent' after session
SAN DIEGO -- Rockies right-hander Jeremy Guthrie declared his right shoulder "100 percent healthy" after a 20-pitch session facing live batters on Tuesday.The Rockies originally wanted Guthrie to throw 30 pitches. But by shortening the session, they figure they can have him make his first Minor League rehab start on Thursday. There was early talk of having Guthrie join Triple-A Colorado Springs, but it's possible that he'll throw in a game closer to the West Coast. "I felt all the way healthy, and that feels good to say," said Guthrie, who suffered a sprained shoulder in a bicycle accident on April 28. "It's a blessing and relief for it to have healed itself as quickly as it did, and for the injury to be as minor as it was."
De La Rosa continues rehab assignment
SAN DIEGO -- Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa struggled on Monday, giving up four runs, three earned, in 2 2/3 innings for Class A Modesto in a rehab game against San Jose, but he was smiling Tuesday.De La Rosa joined the Rockies to work out with the club in preparation for his next start as he completes his rehab from left elbow surgery. He'll pitch for Double-A Tulsa on Saturday. Watching the Rockies' rotation struggle has been difficult, De La Rosa admitted. At the time of his injury last year, he was the Rockies' best pitcher. Without him in the rotation, Rockies starters have gone fewer than six innings in 17 of the team's 28 games this season. "It's good to be around the guys, but it's tough watching the guys struggle," De La Rosa said. "But you can't rush this kind of thing. Everybody told me I'd have problems in the first couple of games." De La Rosa gave up five hits, struck out three and walked two in his second injury rehab start. De La Rosa gave San Jose hitters credit for fouling off some good pitches, and said when he tried to go inside, the ball would cut back over the middle of the plate. It was a clear signal he needs time. "I feel good physical and I've been throwing well, but last night my control wasn't there," De La Rosa said.
Left-hander Josh Outman gave up two hits and struck out two on Monday, in his second of back-to-back appearances at Double-A Tulsa. He will pitch again on Thursday, then the Rockies will evaluate him for a return, manager Jim Tracy said. Jordan Pacheco received his second straight start at third base on Tuesday, in place of Chris Nelson. Nelson participated in right-hander Jeremy Guthrie's simulated game at PETCO Park on Tuesday afternoon.
Nelson is nursing a wrist injury, which is part of the reason Pacheco started. Pacheco also hit better than .400 in Triple-A, and Tracy is hoping to take advantage of a good swing. Nelson says the wrist is improving gradually. He wears a stiff brace when hitting. Catcher Ramon Hernandez was back in the lineup on Tuesday night after being scratched before Monday night's game against the Padres with left hand soreness. The injury occurred on a swing earlier this season and bothers Hernandez occasionally. Rookie Wilin Rosario threw out a runner attempting to steal on Monday, and is 6-for-12 against attempted basestealers. Hernandez is 7-for-18, and the Rockies catchers' combined 43.3 percent is second-highest in the Majors to the D-backs. Rockies left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who was hit on the right thigh by a line drive on Monday night and left the game after three innings, said all he felt Tuesday was "expected soreness." He expects to be OK for his next start.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.