NEW YORK -- Rockies right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez touched 97 mph on his fastball and averaged 94 mph on Wednesday during a rehab start against Athletics Minor Leaguers at Scottsdale, Ariz. He should be in line to return to the club's rotation Monday at home against the Giants.
Jimenez threw 81 pitches in five innings in his first outing since Opening Day, when he gave up an uncharacteristic six runs and seven hits in six innings while pitching through a right thumb cuticle injury. Jimenez, who has hit 100 mph on many occasions, had difficulty getting to 95 in that game, and ended up with a no-decision in the Rockies' eventual 7-6, 11-inning loss to the D-backs at Coors Field.
On Wednesday, Jimenez struck out three and forced nine ground-ball outs while giving up two runs and seven hits.
The plan was for Jimenez to throw enough pitches in the rehab outing to be able to pitch a normal game when he returns to the rotation, Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
Citi Field presents challenges for Rockies
NEW YORK -- The Rockies' 7-6 victory on Monday night's opener of a four-game set against the Mets made them 3-5 at Citi Field since it opened.
One possible reason is the Rockies have all of two players who appeared in more than one game that had a better than .300 average at the place. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki went into Wednesday night with a .429 average in 26 at-bats. His two homers are the only ones by a current Rockies player. Seth Smith entered hitting .400 in 15 at-bats.
Citi Field and Coors Field, the Rockies' home, are similar in that the outfields are spacious. However, the way the ball travels makes it seem as if the parks are on separate planets.
But if the Rockies have the mindset, the park actually is a plus. The Rockies' mantra about avoiding being pull-conscious and hitting line drives to the big areas of the field -- any field -- comes into play.
"You definitely use it to your advantage, and I think that's why I've had success here," Tulowitzki said. "I'm not thinking about a home run. I'm thinking about, 'Get a base hit, don't hit anything in the air, keep the ball on a line.' You have to do that with big parks."
Any poor approach should disappear before the game even begins.
"It messes with your head a little bit when you play here," Smith said. "You hit some balls well and they don't even come close to going out. So it can help you settle into our approach and realize, 'I need to hit the ball square and on the line. There's plenty of room for the ball to fall."
Tracy elects not to start Stewart vs. Niese
NEW YORK -- Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart had what manager Jim Tracy judged as a couple of good at-bats in Monday's 7-6 victory over the Mets while going 1-for-5. While the sign was encouraging for Stewart, who began the year with a hamstring injury and has been ill, it didn't earn him a start on Wednesday.
Part of it is the Rockies were facing Mets left-hander Jon Niese. Although Stewart is 1-for-2 in his career against Niese, Tracy is looking for left-on-right matchups as Stewart continues to work his way into a good place offensively.
Also, it's a chance for a right-handed-hitting infielder Jose Lopez to achieve consistency. Lopez entered Wednesday hitting .241 for the season but was 2-for-14 (.143) on the current road trip. One of Lopez's hits, however, was a three-run homer.
Tracy said he still believes in Stewart. Also, right-handed hitting Ty Wigginton, who was not in Wednesday's lineup, is 4-for-21 on the trip, but one of his hits was a three-run double that won a game in Pittsburgh and he was robbed of another possible three-run double when Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez made an outstanding catch and throw.
"It doesn't have as much to do about Stew as it does the contribution that's taking place from the other guys," Tracy said. "What I'm trying to do is plug Stew in each and every opportunity I get to try to get him jump-started, because we're all well aware of his capabilities. But I'm not going to take away from other guys that are doing special things right now in order to try to force that issue."
Weather could put wrinkle in Rox rotation
NEW YORK -- If the Rockies are able to play all three games with the Mets over the next two days, they'll have to fill a spot start on Sunday at Coors Field against the Cubs.
A couple of candidates have emerged. One is right-hander Clayton Mortensen, who was acquired from the Athletics during the offseason. Mortensen originally was going to start at Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday, but the Sky Sox aren't listing a starter at this point.
Another possibility is right-hander Alan Johnson, who is in his third season at Colorado Springs. Johnson was supposed to start Wednesday but was scratched.
The easier move is Mortensen, since he is a member of the Rockies' 40-man Major League roster. It means the Rockies won't have to remove a player from the 40-man list to add him to the 25-man active roster. They will have to do that to bring up Johnson.
Walker makes Colorado Sports Hall of Fame
NEW YORK -- Larry Walker became the second former Rockies player to be inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame during a banquet on Tuesday night. The late Keli McGregor, who served as Rockies president and was a driving force behind the development of Coors Field, also was inducted.
Walker, who spent the bulk of his playing career with the Rockies (1995-2004) with the Rockies, is serving as hitting coach and first base instructor for Team Canada in international competition. The Pan Am Games are the next event.
The Colorado Sports Hall of Fame inducted Andres Galarraga, a former star first baseman, in 2007.
Walker was eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame induction for the first time this past winter, and received enough votes to remain on the ballot.
"Everything that happened in the bulk of my playing career happened here with the Rockies," Walker told the Denver Post. "This is where it all happened, and that makes tonight's induction special."
McGregor's parents accepted the induction for him. McGregor died last year.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.