SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-handed pitching prospect Eddie Butler's increased maturity was one reason the club felt comfortable releasing Jhoulys Chacin. But Butler will not go as far as to attach his development to Chacin's departure.
Besides, Chacin had something to do with Butler coming into this season better prepared than last year. Butler, a 2012 Draft pick, was called up in June, but shoulder problems limited him to three Major League starts. At the Rockies' urging, Butler spent most of the offseason in Scottsdale and frequently worked out with Chacin, a Scottsdale winter resident who was rehabbing shoulder problems of his own.
"I'd been around the guy all offseason and had a good relationship with him and his family, so it was tough and you wish him the best of luck," Butler said. "We were catch partners. Literally, every day we were out here together. We talked about injuries, bouncing back, and built a relationship we hadn't had the year before."
Butler, whose next Cactus League appearance will be a start Wednesday against the Giants, impressed the Rockies with his last outing against the Athletics on Friday. Butler didn't command his fastball properly, but used his secondary pitches to escape a jam with the bases loaded and no outs in his first inning, and other situations during his three innings.
When camp started, the presumption was Butler (0-2 with a 3.12 ERA in three Cactus League appearances) and righty prospect Jon Gray would have to stand in line because the Rockies already had a projected five-man rotation. But with Chacin gone and lefty Jorge De La Rosa's availability to begin the season in question because of left groin tightness, there are jobs to be earned. Young righties Christian Bergman and David Hale -- both with more Major League experience -- also are possibilities, but veteran non-roster lefty John Lannan also could be called upon if the Rockies want to go with experience.
Can a prospect like Butler not let the anticipation of what could be ahead affect him in the final two weeks of Cactus League play?
"Today, I've got a throwing program," Butler said. "So I'll go out there and get the best out of the throwing program I can and try to make myself better. That's how I can make it on a big league team.
"I can't control the other guys' actions, if somebody else throws well or doesn't throw well, or time served, since there are guys with more time served than me that are fighting for that spot. It's just a matter of what I do. Control what you can."