PHILADELPHIA -- Rockies All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez could begin swinging a bat Wednesday, as he works his way back from a sprained right middle finger which has kept him off the field since Aug. 4.
Gonzalez originally suffered the injury on July 7, and he had two other flareups before finally going on the disabled list. MRI results confirmed the sprain, which is defined as a slight tear of a ligament. The ligament can't fully heal until he has total rest, like he will in the offseason, but the time on the disabled list could promote some healing and leave him at less risk for reinjury after returning.
"He's getting better, but we knew the situation -- his finger is not going to be 100 percent at any time for the rest of the year," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It's something we'll have to deal with when he comes back, but hopefully it's something that's calmed down."
Gonzalez, who is hitting .302 and leading the team in home runs with 26 and RBIs with 70, is most at risk when chasing low-and-outside pitches from a left-handed pitcher. Weiss said he will consider resting Gonzalez against lefties, but beyond that, there isn't much he can do to prevent the odd swing that causes pain.
Rookie Corey Dickerson (.318, 2 HR, 8 RBIs) and Charlie Blackmon (.259, 3 HR, 9 RBIs) have been primary outfield fill-ins.
Wheeler, Pacheco called up from Triple-A
PHILADELPHIA -- The Rockies placed catcher Yorvit Torrealba on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion he suffered in Sunday's 7-2 loss to the Orioles and put right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin on the bereavement list.
To fill both places on the 25-man roster for Monday night's game against the Phillies, the Rockies recalled catcher and utility man Jordan Pacheco and corner infielder Ryan Wheeler from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Chacin, who has headed to Venezuela after the death of his grandmother, is expected to return for Friday's start at Miami.
Pacheco began the year sharing first base with veteran Todd Helton, but was sent down on July 29 after hitting .229 with 10 doubles, one home run and 17 RBIs in 69 games. He saw two Major League games at catcher, but was behind the plate nine times at Colorado Springs. Pacheco spent much of his Minor League time at catcher before playing third and first at the Major League level last season, and the Rockies believe his skills translate well to the position.
"It took me a couple games to feel comfortable, but they've got a good staff down there, and it made it a little easier to get back in the groove of squatting behind the dish," said Pacheco, who hit .315 with one home run, five doubles and six RBIs at Colorado Springs. "The biggest thing is just catching the baseball. That's your main job, to receive it and keep it in front.
"As far as throwing and all that other stuff, that stuff will come."
Wheeler was a Pacific Coast League All-Star at Colorado Springs, where he hit .308 with 29 doubles, 10 home runs and 81 RBIs. He made six Major League appearances April 25-May 5, going 1-for-9 with a double.
Obtained from the D-backs during the offseason, Wheeler said his earlier time in the Majors -- spent mostly as a reserve -- taught him he needed to work on being more aggressive.
"I'm taking a few more risks at the plate," Wheeler said. "Early in the count, I'm letting it fly a little more. It paid off. I have to drive the ball, being a corner position guy. I worked on taking that 'A' swing, as opposed to always thinking, 'line drive to left field.' I was getting into swings, trying to have some fun. I hope it translates."
Tulo offers friendship to Braun, refutes recent story
PHILADELPHIA -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said he offered friendship and support to suspended Brewers star Ryan Braun during Braun's appeal of his 2012 suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Contrary to the contents of an ESPN story, which was confirmed by three sources, Tulowitzki said that, to him, Braun did not accuse sample collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. of being a Cubs fan or an anti-Semite during the appeals process.
Yahoo! Sports reported that Braun called Tulowitzki, Dodgers star Matt Kemp -- whom Braun beat out for National League Most Valuable Player after the 2011 season -- and Reds star Joey Votto, among others, lobbying for support.
Braun recently accepted a 65-game suspension under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Since Braun agreed to the suspension, Tulowitzki said that he and Braun have texted but not talked, and the two have remained friends.
"I've previously said we are friends, and I've talked to him throughout the years many times," Tulowitzki said. "We kind of came up together, as far as in the same Draft, and kept in contact. I talked to him throughout the whole process. It was more as a friend. It wasn't anything more than that.
"He never tried to change my opinion of the subject or anything like that. It was more, 'Hey, how is this going? Is this taking a toll on you?'"
Of the allegation that Braun made accusations against sample collector Laurenzi, Tulowitzki said, "That wasn't our conversation. It was more just catching up. He never even said, 'Can you support me?' or anything like that. It was more, 'The truth will come out.'"
When told there were reports that Braun may soon speak publicly, Tulowitzki said, "I think everybody in baseball wants him to get whatever out that he needs to get out. Hopefully, he does it the right way.
"Good guy, man. Whatever happened, happened. Bottom line for me, my take on it, is he's a good guy. He's done nothing to harm me. He's been a great friend, someone I consider a friend and someone I have respect for.
"People, obviously, make mistakes. I definitely believe in forgiveness. Does it make it right? No. Not at all. But at the same time, I think we all make mistakes."
Tulowitzki said he doesn't believe his friendship with Braun reflects poorly on him.
"No, I couldn't care less about that stuff," Tulowitzki said. "At the end of the day, you know what you've done to get at this level. I don't worry about that."
Rehab assignments on horizon for Chatwood, Oswalt
PHILADELPHIA -- Injured Rockies right-handed pitchers Tyler Chatwood and Roy Oswalt each threw intense, 60-pitch bullpen sessions on Monday at Citizens Bank Park and hope to have simulated games on Thursday before going out on rehab assignments.
Chatwood (7-4, 3.15 ERA in 15 starts) has been out since early August with a right elbow impingement. Oswalt (0-4, 7.64 ERA in four starts) suffered a left hamstring strain on July 7.
"We both throw the same day on Thursday, and hopefully we can get out there and get back soon," Chatwood said.
Oswalt seemed close to returning in early August, but suffered cramping in the hamstring during a simulated game. Still, Oswalt isn't afraid to ramp up his intensity. His previous bullpen session, on Saturday, was 50 pitches.
"I normally throw 50 pitches in a bullpen session between starts, but I like to throw a lot more than most people, because I believe it gets me stronger," Oswalt said.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.