DENVER -- While the Rockies haven't announced anything, Drew Pomeranz will take the mound at Coors Field on Sunday against the Giants for the first time in nine months, according to a report in the Denver Post.
Pomeranz was scheduled to start for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday night, but was removed from the lineup before the game, drawing speculation that he will start in place of the struggling Juan Nicasio.
Pomeranz, a former first-round Draft pick acquired from the Indians in the 2011 trade for Ubaldo Jimenez, has a 4.20 ERA and 8-1 record in 15 starts with Colorado Springs. He has a 4.24 ERA in six starts at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs, a notoriously difficult place to pitch.
Pomeranz started 22 games with the Rockies last year, but largely struggled, collecting a 4.93 ERA and never making it through the seventh inning.
The highly touted lefty has given up two earned runs or fewer and lasted at least 6 2/3 innings in his last two starts. However, his time with Colorado Springs has also been marred by inconsistency, as Pomeranz has allowed five earned runs or more in four starts and he has lasted through the seventh just once.
But Rockies manager Walt Weiss said Pomeranz, who leads the Pacific Coast League with 96 strikeouts, has made significant strides.
"I think with him it's being able to use the secondary stuff and not be so reliant on the fastball," Weiss said. "It sounds like he's done that …. mixed in his secondary stuff, a little more efficient. He's always had the deception, and I think a good finish to his fastball, and I think that makes it tough on hitters."
Pomeranz, 24, made his big league debut with Colorado on Sept. 11, 2011.
Tulowitzki playing catch, but still can't swing a bat
DENVER -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is making steady progress as he nurses a broken right rib, and he said Thursday that he has taken part in light catching but still can't swing a bat.
Two weeks removed from the dive into the infield dirt that caused the injury, Tulowizki is still dealing with some pain, but has seen noticeable improvement.
"It feels like a bruise, but overall, compared to when you guys last talked to me [days after the injury], I feel a lot better," Tulowitzki said.
There is still no precise timetable on when the All-Star shortstop, expected to miss 4-6 weeks, will be back in the lineup. But he said the Rockies' homestand should help with his rehab process because the full training staff is back in Denver rather than on the road.
As the midseason mark approaches, Tulowitzki said his goal is for the Rockies to still be in the National League West race in the final months of the season. Despite falling to 39-40 after a tumultuous road trip, Colorado remains three games back of the first-place D-backs entering Thursday.
"I've been on the opposite end where that last month is meaningless, you're going out there to get some of the younger players better, to pad your numbers, whatever it is," he said. "But it's not the same. You're already out of it and it's just not the same. You sign up to try to win the whole thing, or at least I did."
While Tulowitzki admitted seeing his team in the heat of the postseason race makes him that much more eager to take the field, he knows his limits.
"Knowing that there's an opportunity there, that other teams are leaving us right there, makes me want to get back out there quicker, no doubt," Tulowitzki said. "But at the same time, I've been here before, so I know when that right time is going to be when I'm healthy. Not rushing this thing."
Fowler out of lineup again due to sore right hand
DENVER -- As he continues to deal with a sore right hand, Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler missed his second straight start in a makeup game against the Mets on Thursday.
Fowler had an MRI on his right hand Thursday, the results of which are unknown. He first injured the hand two weeks ago against the Nationals and has missed five starts since.
"He's better, but he's still sore enough that I'm going to keep him out," manager Walt Weiss said.
Weiss said Fowler's current injury is on the same hand that was struck by a ball as he attempted to bunt June 13, but the soreness is in a different spot on that hand. The two injuries are likely related, but the injury that sidelined him for the series finale in Boston and again Thursday may have surfaced later.
Since he was pulled in the fifth inning two weeks ago against Washington, Fowler has gone just 4-for-23 (.174) with four walks and seven strikeouts.
Closer Betancourt set to come off DL on Friday
DENVER -- Rafael Betancourt expects to be back in uniform as the Rockies' closer Friday after a stint on the disabled list.
The Rockies placed Betancourt on the 15-day DL on June 1 with a groin injury, and through his absence he has held onto his closer's role. Rex Brothers became Colorado's default closer when Betancourt was out, extending his scoreless-innings streak to 29 innings and converting three save opportunities.
Betancourt has pitched through injuries all year and nearly landed on the DL with the same injury in mid-May, but tried to pitch through the pain.
"I'm glad the time it took worked," Betancourt said.
The seasoned closer should provide an immediate boost to a bullpen that has been relied upon heavily despite dealing with several injuries. Betancourt has a 3.20 ERA and 11 saves, picking up his third loss in his last appearance on May 31.
But Betancourt is hesitant to say his return will have a dramatic impact on a team reeling after winning only two games during a nine-game road trip.
"I don't like to say, 'Because I'm back now, we [will get much better]," Betancourt said. "It's everybody there and the whole team. That's how it is. You're never going to win with one guy. That's never going to happen."
Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.