Ottavino to be evaluated, activation possible

Ottavino to be evaluated, activation possible

LOS ANGELES -- The Rockies will evaluate right-handed relief pitcher Adam Ottavino on Monday in San Francisco, with the possibility of activating him. Ottavino was the Rockies' closer last April before undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Ottavino, 30, hasn't pitched for the Rockies since last April 25 -- the last of 10 scoreless appearances. He has made 10 injury rehab appearances, with the last two coming Friday and Saturday in one-inning, spotless stints. The ability to go back-to-back might have been the final hurdle to returning to the Majors.

"Everything's good -- he's close to being ready to go at the Major League level," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said Sunday. "It's possible [he'll be activated]. That's why we're going to see where he's at."

The Rockies invested in Ottavino's comeback, and Ottavino invested in the Rockies, when the sides agreed on a three-year, $10.4 million contract this past winter even though he wasn't coming back until around midseason.

Before the injury, Ottavino was 3-for-3 on save chances and held opponents to a .094 batting average. He entered the year in a setup role, but shifted to closer when LaTroy Hawkins struggled early. The previous year, in a setup role, Ottavino appeared in a career-high 75 games (1-4, 3.60 ERA) with 70 strikeouts and 16 walks. He was one of three Major League pitchers who appeared in 75 or more games with 20 or fewer walks that year.

Ottavino has said on many occasions he doesn't see the closer role as more important than other roles, and his contract does not include a games-finished clause. In fact, no Rockies reliever has such a clause. So Weiss will have options in the closer role once everyone is healthy and pitching well.

Lefty Jake McGee, the closer to start the year, returned Friday night after missing three weeks with left knee inflammation and will be used late in games, Weiss said. Rookie righty Carlos Estevez remains closer for now, and could earn the right to stay there. McGee, Ottavino are veteran righty Jason Motte could be closing options or late-game matchup relievers.

Chatwood's back

Weiss made it official that righty Tyler Chatwood (8-4, 3.15 ERA), who strained his back June 18, will start Tuesday at San Francisco, between Monday starter Tyler Anderson and Wednesday starter Jorge De La Rosa.

Chatwood threw 67 pitches over five innings in an injury rehab start at Class A Advanced Modesto on Thursday and checked out healthy. Weiss didn't say Chatwood was under a restrictive pitch limit but the Rockies "will just use common sense."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.