SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There is no indication that there is anything new to be concerned about regarding the right glute inflammation for projected starter and No. 2 prospect Drew Pomeranz, but the Rockies are treating the 23-year-old left-hander with the utmost caution, giving him extra rest before his next start.
While the other starters are getting five days' rest between starts at this point in spring, the new pitching schedule pushes Pomeranz back three days from what would have been a Sunday start to an appearance in a Minor League game on Wednesday, an off-day for the Rockies.
"I think they're doing it to line me up for something," Pomeranz said. "I thought I was going to get pushed back a day or two, maybe, but there's no rush. I think it's all precautionary, just to give me plenty of time."
Pomeranz pitched two perfect innings on Tuesday against the Dodgers, but left with what he referred to as "hip tightness." The most recent report from head trainer Keith Dugger was that the issue seemed to be inflammation and did not appear to be originating in the back. Dugger did not think the issue was a major concern, but the fact that it hasn't gone away two days later has the Rockies playing it safe.
"It's considerably better today," Pomeranz said. "It just feels like it's workout sore, like being sore from lifting."
Pomeranz has dealt with the tightness before, and this round hasn't seemed any different, but the Rockies are understandably cautious during Spring Training in trying to keep nagging issues from evolving into debilitating injuries.
"That's why I wasn't really worried about it, because I knew what it was," Pomeranz said. "I figured they'd probably handle it that way, just because an extra couple days ain't gonna hurt nothing."
Pomeranz came to the Rockies as the player to be named later in last summer's trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland. Pomeranz was the Indians' first-round pick (fifth overall) in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, and he made his Major League debut with the Rockies last September.
Don't bet on the pattern holding true beyond the 10 days mapped out by the Rockies, but if the starters stayed on schedule with five days' rest between now and the beginning of the season, Jeremy Guthrie would be lined up to start Opening Day, followed by Tyler Chatwood, Juan Nicasio and Jhoulys Chacin.
Two pitchers angling for the fifth spot in the rotation, Jamie Moyer and Alex White, would be on the same schedule as Pomeranz, on track for the regular season's first off-day on April 10.
Chacin leaves game with blister
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin left Thursday's game against the Cubs after three innings due to a blister on his right index finger, but neither he nor his manager expect the issue to affect his pitching schedule in the Cactus League.
"I used more of my fastball and changeup than my sinker today," Chacin said. "It was really hard to guide the ball [because of the blister], but I could still make my pitches. I'm proud of my control of my fastball. I kept throwing my fastball for a strike, got people, out, and threw more innings. That's the way you get deep in games."
Chacin held the Cubs scoreless for three innings, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out one. His biggest challenge came in the second inning, when Bryan LaHair got a leadoff double and stole third, but Chacin stranded him in scoring position.
"The blister started when I was throwing in the bullpen," Chacin said. "I told the trainer. They used super glue to try and stop it. It got bigger during the game, and they just wanted me to stop. I was almost pitching with three fingers. But I could still throw my fastball for a strike."
Chacin is projected as the Rockies' No. 2 starter. He's pitched a total of eight Cactus League innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks, and he was 11-14 for Colorado in 2011, posting a 3.62 ERA.
"If it was during the course of a season, he would have continued," manager Jim Tracy said, noting that he didn't expect the blister to be an issue at all moving forward. "His command is there and his breaking stuff is very tough to deal with. He's returning to form. "
Chacin has pitched in parts of three big leagues seasons, and has never been on the disabled list.
Blake ready to move on from injury
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Casey Blake wears his status on his sleeve these days, and it only takes a glance to gauge his perspective. He wore a sense of determination Thursday that had been hidden beneath nagging neck stiffness for much of the week, and it's clear in the Colorado clubhouse that Blake was ready to reclaim his health and begin building the spring momentum that has so far eluded him.
Blake, who had been slated as the Rockies starting third baseman but has not been able to stay on pace with his spring program as a result of stiffness in his neck, returned to work on the field Thursday, for the first time since being scratched from Monday's lineup after "sleeping wrong" and aggravating a neck that required season-ending surgery in September of 2011.
"It's a little better today," Blake said Thursday. "I'm going to go out and try to do what I can do."
He took batting practice with the team, and manager Jim Tracy reported, "He swung the bat very very well."
Nevertheless, Blake's inactivity this week, paired with his 0-for-9 start in his first four Cactus League appearances, has spawned an unanticipated position battle.
"We have one; that's what we have," Tracy confirmed of the battle. "We're doing some different things with different people. If Casey is not a possibility, we're exploring some very interesting options over there right now. There are a number of ways we can go."
Both Blake and the Rockies are pressed with producing significant results in a shortening period of time to have a resolution before Opening Day. The Rockies acquired Blake with the expectation that he'd be in their lineup when they start the season in Houston April 6, but there are no guarantees if he doesn't make the club.
"I understand the situation," Blake said, acknowledging the need to get back on track to preserve his standing. "I don't want to go out there if I can't play, but I need to be in there playing. I gotta get healthy first. I need to get my neck better first. I understand what's going on."
With a return to activity Thursday, Blake is hopeful he can be back on track in a matter of days. "This is one that we have to move forward as he can tolerate," Tracy said. "We're not going to push so hard that we run the risk of breaking the guy. That's ludicrous."
Prospect Bettis feeling better after soreness
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-handed pitching prospect Chad Bettis finally had some good news to share for the first time since coming out of a game Sunday against the Brewers.
Bettis, 22, came out of Sunday's game after only an inning pitched. He was reported to have triceps tendinitis, though when he pointed to the injury in the clubhouse, it was close to his right lat.
"It's definitely a lot better," Bettis said. "The first day after [the injury] they dug in there, and did quite a bit of treatment that day, and it was sore just when I raised my arm. Now I have a good range of motion back."
Bettis went 12-5 with a 3.34 ERA in 27 starts for Advanced Class A Modesto last year, but the Rockies have been intrigued with the idea of using him as a late-innings reliever. Sunday was his second Cactus League appearance, and he has allowed two runs on four hits over three innings. He is ready to get back to action.
"I asked them if I could throw [Thursday], and they said no," Bettis said. "What I would like is to toss on Friday, see how it feels, and go from there. Maybe stretch it out a little bit. See how it feels the next day and then maybe hop on the mound for 20 pitches or something like that."
Head athletic trainer Keith Dugger confirmed that Bettis should be able to begin light tossing within the next couple of days, but he will do so in Minor League camp as the right-hander was one of 12 players reassigned to Minor League camp Thursday.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.