SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin holds hope he can return from a shoulder injury by the middle or end of April, but he won't fight it if the club doesn't let him pitch in a regular-season game until May.
Bill Geivett, the Rockies' senior vice president of Major League operations, said in an online chat with fans Wednesday that Chacin will not be ready until May. Chacin arrived at Spring Training with pain and inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
Chacin (14-10, 3.47 ERA, 126 strikeouts in 197 1/3 innings last year) has built up to long-toss at 220-240 feet. By the end of this week or early next, he hopes to throw bullpen sessions -- something he was not able to do before the Rockies shut him down and had him start over with strengthening exercises. Chacin feels good enough to at least dream of a shorter timetable, but said the ultimate decision is the club's, with head athletic trainer Keith Dugger administering the rehab program.
"In the beginning they told me mid-April or the end of April, but I think it depends on how I'm feeling," Chacin said. "The good thing is I'm feeling good now and everything is going well. But I really don't know when I'll pitch. They know.
"Maybe they're slowing me down. Maybe they want me to be 100 percent before I start throwing bullpens. They don't want me to rush, have a setback and miss more time."
Chacin said the shoulder feels healthy. The Rockies aren't letting his program advance until they are sure his mechanics are correct. Chacin says his mechanics are "way better."
Left-hander Franklin Morales, who started Wednesday night against the Cubs, and right-hander Jordan Lyles are competing to fill the void. Morales has extensive bullpen experience as well and most likely will begin the year in relief if the Rockies pick Lyles. If Lyles doesn't win the job, he'll likely start the year at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.