MILWAUKEE -- The Rockies turned back the clock four years Tuesday night, with Yorvit Torrealba catching left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa.
In 2009, Torrealba was a key leader on a team that went to the playoffs and De La Rosa had his best season -- 16-9 with a 4.38 ERA in 185 innings, with 193 strikeouts to 83 walks. It was the year in which he completed his transition from a talented pitcher whose volatility hurt him to a calm professional.
The offense takes a hit anytime the feared Wilin Rosario doesn't start. But with De La Rosa having missed most of the last two seasons because of left elbow surgery, Rockies manager Walt Weiss believes his transition will be smoothed by Torrealba's presence.
"'Torre' connects well with 'De La,' so it just makes sense," Weiss said. "At the same time, I thought Wilin handled himself very well yesterday [2-for-4, handled Jhoulys Chacin's strong 6 2/3 innings in the 5-4 loss in 10 innings]. That was nice to see."
Weiss said he has not committed to always pairing Torrealba and De La Rosa.
Torrealba said the De La Rosa he saw in Spring Training reminded him of the one he caught during that special season. De La Rosa went 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four Cactus League appearances and finished up with strong work in a Minor League game. In his first two appearances, he was rusty and looked frustrated, but he found his rhythm the rest of the time in Arizona.
"It's almost the same De La Rosa I saw before, but we're still working on his secondary pitches," Torrealba said. "His fastball has some life to it. He's pitching almost the same way he used to pitch. He showed a good fastball and changeup in Spring Training. So far, so good. We'll see how it's going to be."
Torrealba was a starter for much of his first tour with the Rockies (2006-09) and is moving into a career stage as a backup and mentor. To be effective when called upon, Torrealba said he'll have to do more running and exercise between games. He has played at 223 pounds in the past but feels good at his current 218 and is looking to cut to 215. Even though his role is different, he believes he can contribute to helping the Rockies return to winning.
"It is special," Torrealba said. "The best years I had were in this organization, and the best year they had as an organization [2007, when they went to the World Series] was when I was here. It's special from both ends. I'm sure they are happy with the things I've done here, or at least a couple of the people told me so, and I'm hoping to help us be where we want to be this year.
"I can't wait to go back home, be in front of the home crowd, see familiar faces."
Weiss seeks creative ways to get Pacheco in lineup
MILWAUKEE -- After leading National League rookies last year with a .309 batting average and hitting .362 in Spring Training, right-handed-hitting utility man Jordan Pacheco finds himself having to be ready even though it isn't certain when the at-bats will come.
Pacheco, 27, did not have a chance to bat in Monday's 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Brewers. It looks like his starts will come at first base when Todd Helton needs a rest, and manager Walt Weiss said he will appear behind the plate more than the five times he did last year. Pacheco was the third baseman when Chris Nelson was injured last season, and could be thrown into the outfield because the team is carrying just four outfielders.
"My role is definitely a little bit different this year," Pacheco said. "I just want to help this ballclub out, whenever I get an at-bat, whether it's a situational at-bat or just getting on base."
Pacheco said he talked with veteran Jason Giambi, now with the Indians, and teammate Eric Young Jr. about pinch-hitting and is studying for those opportunities.
"You've got to know what pitcher is out there," Pacheco said. "It's a little bit different doing your homework on the guys that are coming in to face you. Talking to Giambi and E.Y., who was successful last year, about how they approach it is only going to help me."
Weiss will try to be creative, believing Pacheco can handle multiple situations.
"He's got a tough job," Weiss said. "Being that guy who can do everything, you're asked to do some difficult things. We're trying to create options for him. He's such a good hitter, we've got to find ways to get him in the box."
Pacheco was a shortstop at the University of New Mexico and a catcher in the Minors, but he has made dramatic strides at first base.
Rockies look to improve execution after opener
MILWAUKEE -- The Rockies hit three home runs and enjoyed winning-type pitching from right-handed starter Jhoulys Chacin, but their poor execution in several areas lead to the 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Brewers.
Obvious places to look were to pitchers Wilton Lopez, who entered the eighth with a two-run lead and left with a one-run deficit, and Adam Ottavino, who ended up losing the game in the 10th after Dexter Fowler tied the game with a homer in the ninth.
However, the Rockies' offense will have to execute better on the road, where the team is not as likely to display power as at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
The Rockies put five runners on base in the first and second innings but couldn't come up with a two-out hit. In the fourth, Wilin Rosario and Chris Nelson singled, but Chacin struck out when he couldn't execute a bunt. Fowler followed with a single to right, but Rosario misread it and couldn't score, and Nelson ran into an out when he didn't notice that Rosario was held up at third.
A traditionally poor-hitting road team, the Rockies had 12 hits to work with but scored only on the homers.
Manager Walt Weiss said Nelson's was a mistake of aggression, and the team can't be tentative. But the team has to execute crisply.
"We minimized an inning or two for them," Weiss said.
Friedrich to start opener for Rox Triple-A club
MILWAUKEE -- Lefty Christian Friedrich, who gave the Rockies encouraging work as a rookie starter last season before suffering a season-ending stress fracture in his lower back in July, will start for Triple-A Colorado Springs in its opener on Thursday against Reno at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Friedrich, 25, was expected to compete for a rotation spot with the big club but missed the first half of Spring Training with back spasms. He recovered, but not in time to seriously challenge for a job. He went 5-8 with a 6.17 ERA in 16 starts with the Rockies last season, after going 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in Colorado Springs.
The remainder of the rotation will be righty Tyler Chatwood, lefty Drew Pomeranz, lefty Nick Schmidt and veteran righty Aaron Cook.
Chatwood and Pomeranz saw significant time with the Rockies last season, and Pomeranz was in line to begin the year in the Majors before the Rockies signed veteran righty Jon Garland. Schmidt was a No. 1 Draft pick of the Padres (2007) who battled injuries before being traded to the Rockies for reliever Huston Street in December 2011.
Cook, 34, pitched for the Rockies from 2002-11 and is the club's leader in career wins and several other categories. He pitched for the Red Sox last season and was with the Phillies in Spring Training before requesting his release to rejoin the Rockies organization.
The Sky Sox will begin the year with an eight-game homestand April 4-11.
Rockies open Thursday workout at Coors to public
MILWAUKEE -- The Rockies' off-day workout at Coors Field on Thursday, the day before Friday afternoon's home opener against the Padres, will be open and free for fans if they bring a canned food item to Gates A and D. Otherwise, tickets are $1 and can be purchased at rockies.com.
Parking lot A opens at 1 p.m. MT. Gates open at 1:30 p.m. and the workout is from 2 to 4 p.m.
Net proceeds will benefit the Rockies Charity Fund and Carpenter's Cupboard, a local Christian-based food bank that serves about 2,000 families a month -- 5,000 some months.
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.