10/06/09 6:45 PM ET
Injured De La Rosa off Rox's NLDS roster
Hammel to start Game 3, Marquis will open series in 'pen
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Tracy also announced that the starters for the first three games against the Phillies, in order, will be right-handers Ubaldo Jimenez for Wednesday's Game 1, Aaron Cook for Thursday's Game 2 and Jason Hammel for Game 3 when the series heads to Coors Field. Tracy did not name a Game 4 starter.
Tracy said Jason Marquis, who was the team's best pitcher during the first half of the season, but has struggled for much of the last three weeks, will be available in relief for the first three games. Tracy said he has not ruled Marquis out for starting Game 4.
Tracy also announced his final roster decisions, even though they're not due until Wednesday morning. Among them:
Tracy kept Eric Young Jr., rather than backup infielder Omar Quintanilla. Tracy wanted a basestealing threat in the late innings, and the versatility of second baseman Clint Barmes and third baseman Ian Stewart made Quintanilla less necessary for late-innings defense.
Right-hander Jose Contreras, acquired from the White Sox on Aug. 31 to help the rotation, will be part of the bullpen.
Righty Matt Belisle, who bounced between the Rockies and Triple-A Colorado Springs, but had a strong finish (2-0, 1.42 ERA in his final nine appearances), made the bullpen. The relief staff consists of Belisle, Contreras, Matt Daley, primary setup man Rafael Betancourt and closer Huston Street from the right, and Joe Beimel and Franklin Morales from the left.
De La Rosa had thrown three hitless innings Saturday night against the Dodgers, but suffered the injury while facing his first hitter of the fourth inning. De La Rosa lost his first six decisions, but since then is 16-3. He fell one victory short of matching the team's single-season record.
But when De La Rosa arrived at Citizens Bank Park for Tuesday's workout day, he said, "It's pretty much the same."
Shortly thereafter, Tracy cancelled De La Rosa's scheduled bullpen session, hoping that he could have time to heal, and possibly be a candidate for the NL Championship Series should the Rockies advance.
"I really think that if we're fortunate enough to get through the Division Series, there's a good chance from what I've been hearing the last day and a half that we could get to the point where we could reopen that discussion," Tracy said.
Jimenez (15-12, 3.47 ERA) has been tested in big games against top pitchers all season, so it'll be no different when he faces Phillies lefty standout Cliff Lee. Cook (11-6, 4.16 ERA) missed five weeks with left shoulder soreness, but has given up one run in 13 innings over two starts since his return.
Tracy decided on Hammel (10-8, 4.33 ERA) because of his strong second half (5-4, 4.23 ERA). Hammel often faced big-name opposition on the mound and kept the Rockies in position to win.
"Did he necessarily win all of them?" Tracy said. "He no-decisioned quite a few of them. But he pitched so competitively, so deep into the game and gave us opportunities to win, you cannot ignore that.
"Jason Hammel hasn't been given anything. He deserves the right to pitch because of everything he's done since the All-Star break."
Hammel, who was with the Rays last year but missed the postseason with a knee injury, said he expected to be pitching out of the bullpen.
"This doesn't come along too often, but I've worked hard for this opportunity," Hammel said. "Tracy has given me his blessing. He said, 'Your second-half consistency and your progression have been unbelievable.' It's time to go to work now."
The strong second half put Hammel ahead of Marquis (15-13, 4.04 ERA), who made his first All-Star Game at midseason, but finished the year 1-5 with a 6.23 ERA in his final eight starts.
Tracy admitted that informing Marquis he would not start one of the first three games was "very difficult."
"I learned a long time ago you manage with your eyes and your head," Tracy said. "You don't allow your heart to get too involved in it. I want to be consistent with the message that I sent in late May [when he replaced Clint Hurdle as manager, with the team's record 18-28]. One of the things I distinctly remember saying is we are involved in a performance industry."
Marquis said he still has a chance to contribute.
"Obviously, I wanted the ball, but it's the playoffs and they have to do what's best for the team," Marquis said. "You check your ego at the door."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.