NEW YORK -- This hasn't been an easy road trip for the Rockies. Aside from scuffling through Atlanta, Pittsburgh and New York, Colorado has suffered some significant injuries.
All-Star left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who was hitting .302 with 26 home runs and 70 RBIs, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday because of his sprained right middle finger. Then the Rockies had to place pitcher Tyler Chatwood, who was 7-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 15 starts, on the DL with inflammation in his right elbow.
And Todd Helton's balky back continues to be something manager Walt Weiss has to make sure to monitor, especially after Helton tweaked it while pinch-hitting Saturday in Pittsburgh.
So on Thursday, Weiss had to run out a young lineup against the Mets. Six of the Rockies' starters, including pitcher Jeff Manship, spent significant time in the Minor Leagues at some point this season. Right fielder Charlie Blackmon, second baseman DJ LeMahieu, center fielder Corey Dickerson, third baseman Nolan Arenado and left fielder Charlie Culberson have all spent time with Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Dickerson got the Rockies started Thursday with a solo home run in the fourth inning, his second of the season.
"That's going to happen at times over the course of a season," Weiss said. "We're going out there with some young fresh legs. We've been getting beat up a little bit here on this trip in particular. Guys are grinding, and we need to go home and play well."
Weiss also said he ran his fresh legs out on the field Thursday because he wanted some of his regulars -- like shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and center fielder Dexter Fowler -- to rest before getting back to Coors Field.
Entering Thursday's game, the Rockies were 1-8 on their current road trip. The schedule doesn't get much easier anytime soon. Colorado plays the Pirates again this weekend in Denver, then after a series against San Diego, the Rockies head back on the road for another three-city, 10-game road trip.
But Weiss said this is an opportunity for the younger players. They have a chance to show they belong in the Major Leagues, and it's an opportunity they need to take advantage of through the end of the season.
"All those guys have performed well at the Triple-A level. I'm interested in seeing them perform up here," Weiss said." There's going to be some opportunities, especially with some guys banged up. That's how a lot of big league careers get started."
Weiss said the team also has a good mix of veterans they can learn from. Despite the struggles the Rockies have run into lately, Weiss said he still likes the way the team has competed. He said they're trying to build off some of the positive things that happened in the first half and continue to move in that direction.
Times are tough right now with ample injuries, a sputtering offense and disappointing losses. But Weiss said there are positive signs.
"I feel like they're grinding through some tough stuff right now," Weiss said. "There's an element of our club that's pretty youthful, and some of that is showing up. But there's a lot of talent that goes along with that to be excited about."
Manship called up to start in place of injured Chatwood
NEW YORK -- After arriving in New York at about 5 a.m. ET following a red-eye flight, Jeff Manship was on the Citi Field mound and starting for the Rockies in their series finale against the Mets.
"He'll have some adrenaline going, and he'll probably crash and burn after the game," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "But he's ready to go."
The Rockies recalled Manship from Triple-A Colorado Springs to make Thursday's start in place of Tyler Chatwood, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Weiss said the team considered piecing Thursday's game together with the bullpen, but decided going that route would overwork the relievers.
So they turned to the 28-year-old Manship, who made his first Major League start this season. He spent parts of the previous four seasons pitching for the Minnesota Twins, and Colorado signed him to a Minor League contract during the offseason.
"He's got some big league experience. He's throwing the ball well, particularly the last couple times out," Weiss said. "He was the guy."
Manship pitched in 24 games for Colorado Springs, including 17 starts, going 6-8 with a 4.85 ERA. In his last five starts, Manship was 3-1 with a 2.41 ERA, while walking seven and striking out 28.
Whether Manship stays in the rotation while Chatwood's on the DL remains to be seen.
"We'll figure that out," Weiss said. "Things change about every six or eight hours in this game, so it's hard to predict the next couple weeks."
To clear room for Manship on the 40-man roster, the Rockies placed left-handed pitcher Christian Friedrich on the 60-day disabled list with lower back inflammation.
The Rockies, meanwhile, will be without Chatwood for the foreseeable future. Chatwood was 7-4 with a 3.15 ERA before going on the DL.
The 23-year-old has had a frustrating week.
While he was doing sprint work in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Chatwood experienced left hamstring tightness, causing him to be scratched from Tuesday's start. The Rockies were hoping a couple days of extra rest would be enough for him to heal and start Thursday.
Chatwood pitched a bullpen session Tuesday, and came through it without any problems. But then on Wednesday, he tried to play catch and he could hardly throw. Chatwood said it felt like something was "pinching" in the elbow area.
"It's definitely frustrating. I don't think I've ever been hurt in my career, and I tweaked my hammy and now my arm," Chatwood said. "So it's definitely frustrating, but hopefully I'm not out too long, try to do what I need to do and get back."
Back on June 3, Chatwood was pulled from his start against the Reds after allowing a run in four innings because of sore right triceps. Chatwood was given extra rest and made his next start on June 15. At that time, he didn't need a trip to the disabled list.
Chatwood said he's felt some pain in the same area when he threw bullpen sessions, but he didn't want to try and pitch through it any longer.
"I don't think I would've been out there and benefited our team," Chatwood said. "I don't know what would've happened if I had tried to throw."
Chatwood will be examined in Denver on Friday. He said he's optimistic that he'll be back on the mound soon enough.
"I think once we get back and find out exactly what it is," Chatwood said, "we'll try to knock it out pretty quick."
Familiarity, pressure accompany Ottavino in NYC
NEW YORK -- Whenever Adam Ottavino steps on the mound at Citi Field, there's a bit of added pressure on the Rockies pitcher. His family and friends from home don't have the chance to watch him in person too often. Ottavino doesn't want to let them down.
Colorado's trip to New York gave Ottavino the chance to sleep in his own bed, in his own apartment in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, the same area where he grew up. It's a good opportunity to take advantage of some familiarity during an arduous baseball season, but there's a flipside to the situation as well.
"Part of it is also, I really want to do good when I'm here," Ottavino said. "My parents and friends are at the game, so I don't want to go out there and embarrass myself."
Ottavino pitched a hitless inning in Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Mets. He finished the frame with one walk and one strikeout. Ottavino said he left about six or seven tickets for family and friends, but there were about another 20 who came on their own.
After pitching at Berkeley Carroll High School in Brooklyn -- where he averaged 17 strikeouts per game his junior and senior seasons -- and Northeastern University in Boston, Ottavino was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.
Ottavino has a 3.12 ERA in 33 games this season for the Rockies. He went 5-1 with a 4.56 ERA in 53 games last season.
The 27-year-old pitched at Citi Field last season, and that's when the bizarre feeling of pitching on a Major League mound in the city where he grew up settled in.
Still, it makes this road trip slightly more special.
"This year I don't feel any different pitching here, I guess," Ottavino said. "But there's something cool about it, obviously."
Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.