Colorado Rockies: Pitcher Swap and Updates on Ottavino, Hundley


As the Colorado Rockies prepare to take on the San Francisco Giants this afternoon at Coors Field, here are some news and notes to know.

Switching pitchers

Eddie Butler and Chris Rusin will swap starting dates this weekend. Butler was originally scheduled to start Sunday’s matinee against the Giants but that plan was switched after Chris Rusin was unable to get in some necessary work during the series with the Boston Red Sox.

Butler (2-2, 3.58 ERA) will now start on Saturday against Madison Bumgarner while Rusin (1-2, 3.93) will get the call for the series finale against Johnny Cueto.

“Rusin was in play out of the bullpen (Thursday) night, even though he didn’t pitch, he wasn’t able to get his side in and that’s why we pushed him to Sunday,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. “We were ready to go either way, Saturday or Sunday, with those guys, but that was the determining factor.”

Speaking of Butler…

The Colorado Rockies have seen nice progression this season out of Butler, who takes an ERA into Saturday’s start that is nearly two runs lower than his career average. A career starter (19 starts in 19 appearances during his first two seasons), Butler has also shown versatility, coming out of the bullpen when needed and being effective.

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Butler last appeared on the mound for the Rockies on May 24, allowing one hit in 2.2 innings in a relief role during Colorado’s 8-3 loss to the Red Sox.

Weiss likes what he has seen from Butler and the growth he’s exhibited.

“First and foremost, the command and effectiveness of the two-seamer,” Weiss said when asked what has impressed him about Butler this season. “He has that heavy sink back to it. It’s hard and heavy. He’s got a better feel for his slider. If you remember a year ago, he had a tough time finishing at-bats. The at-bats would get extended on him and then he’d end up giving up a hit. Now he’s able to finish the at-bat with the slider. It’s become more of an out pitch for him. He has a better feel for it.

“Those are his two big weapons. He’ll mix in a changeup that he has confidence in but the fact that he’s gotten back to being a strike-thrower, working in good counts, has made a world of difference.”

Power of the Pen

With Jason Motte rejoining the Colorado bullpen, Weiss said he likes what he is available to him in the later innings.

“We have some power right now,” Weiss said. “The young guys are throwing the ball well and it’s good to get Jason back in the mix. The key is getting quality starts so we can get to those pieces in the situations we want to. That’s a big part of it. When our starters put us in position to games away, I think we can do that.”

Injury updates

Weiss said former closer Adam Ottavino, coming off Tommy John surgery, “has a live BP in the near future. His bullpens are going very well. He’s creeping up on that (facing live batters).”

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Catcher Nick Hundley also continues to progress from a left oblique injury that has put him on the 15-day disabled list.

“Nick took some swings in Boston in the cage and that went really well,” Weiss said. “We’re going to keep adding to that. He’ll probably take some live BP very soon.”