06/12/09 8:52 PM ET
Torrealba nears return to Rockies
Catcher to visit club officials, begin Minors tuneup soon
By Cheng Sio / MLB.com
On June 2, Torrealba learned of his 11-year-old son's kidnapping while the Rockies were in Houston facing the Astros. He immediately flew to Venezuela and the Rockies placed him on Major League Baseball's restricted list. The next day, Torrealba's son, brother-in-law and wife's brother-in-law were released by their kidnappers.
Manager Jim Tracy said on Friday that he doesn't know the details of how they will deal with Torrealba once he returns, but he's sure that Torrealba will have to play a few games in the Minor Leagues.
"I don't know all the specifics of it, but there has to be some type of rehab," Tracy said. "He's obviously sat idle for quite a period of time. We definitely have to get him back out there and get him playing him a little bit before we can move any further forward than that."
If Torrealba is sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs, he'll have a friendly face there in left-hander Franklin Morales. The Rockies on Friday optioned Morales to the Sky Sox, one night after an inconsistent performance in which he threw 98 pitches in 4 1/3 innings, allowing nine runs, eight earned, including two home runs. Morales has been on the disabled list since April 22 with a left shoulder strain.
"I really just think he needs a little bit more time, that's all," Tracy, who spoke with Morales on Friday, said. "We want him to go down there, we want him to take a few more starts. I made it very clear to him that as we move forward, there's more than a strong chance that there's a genuine opportunity here for him."
"The first thing is get down there and get to the point where you can repeat your delivery on a consistent basis and command your fastball, which sets up all of his other pitches. I think if he gets right, I really believe that there's a number of ways that Franklin can help this ballclub."
Tracy also announced Friday that right-handed reliever Taylor Buchholz will throw a bullpen session Saturday. If Buchholz, who's been out all season with a strain in the ulnar collateral ligament on his pitching elbow, completes the session without any discomfort, then the team will strongly consider sending him out on a rehab assignment. However, if Buchholz has a setback, Tommy John ligament replacement surgery could be in order.
"We're kind of in that gray area right now where we either have to push through it, see how his elbow responds or he's going to have to make a decision whether surgery is going to be needed or not," head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said.
Cheng Sio is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.