Chacin's comeback coming with less and less worry

Right-hander pain-free after spring debut, bullpen session

Chacin's comeback coming with less and less worry

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With each day, more worries melt away for Rockies right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin.

On Thursday, Chacin threw 1 2/3 innings against the D-backs (2 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 SO) -- his first game action since last June 28, when labrum and rotator cuff damage became such a hindrance that he was shut down with a 1-7 record and 5.40 ERA in 11 starts. On Saturday, Chacin checked off another marker with a pain-free and, he believes, productive bullpen session.

The improved ability to bounce back from ramping up his arm is leaving Chacin encouraged. Chacin hopes to be as healthy as he was in 2013, when he went 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA.

"In the game, I wanted to see what would happen after resting after the first inning and getting back to the second inning," Chacin said. "That's where last season was hard for me, when I was warm, then I'd sit, then I'd go back.

"I'm really happy I'm pain-free, and after the bullpen [Saturday], everything was normal."

 

Chacin will pitch again Tuesday against the Dodgers at Glendale, Ariz., after Eddie Butler, who will start. With health concerns lessening, Chacin will look for better mechanics than he displayed Thursday. The velocity of his sinking fastball, in the 86-88 mph range, is not far off the 89.8 mph he averaged in 2013, so speed is less a concern than sink.

"When I was pitching, I really didn't feel it; I just wanted to throw the ball there," Chacin said. "But I watched it on video and I was opening up too quick. I just want to get back to where I used to be and keep repeating. I need good mechanics to keep my shoulder healthy.

"Mechanics are something I can fix."

Chacin will be working with another young pitcher on mechanics. His younger brother, Jhousbert Chacin, 16, is in town. Jhousbert is a right-handed pitcher who threw informally this winter for Rockies scouts in the Dominican Republic. Chacin said he is working with his brother -- a fine athlete already at 6-foot-2 -- on staying relaxed through the delivery.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.