At this time last year, Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez was mowing down batters at a historical pace. Simply pitching with a healthy hand is now Jimenez's goal. The Rockies placed Jimenez on the fifteen-day disabled list today, in order to give the cut cuticle on his right thumb time to heal. The injury first surfaced in spring training, when the cut became infected, and re-opened just before opening day, when he gave up five earned runs in six innings to the Diamondbacks. The cuticle is not infected now.
The DL placement is retroactive to April 2, so, if healthy, Jimenez could return to the rotation on April 17 and miss only two starts. Greg Reynolds, who lost the battle for the fifth starter spot to Esmil Rodgers in spring training, will be called up from Triple-A to fill in.
The Rockies selected Reynolds second overall in the 2006 draft, but his career has been laced with a multitude of injuries. He will start on Saturday in Pittsburgh against the Pirates.
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While it's awful to see the team's ace get rocked by a bad team in his first start, followed by a trip to the DL, it's important that Jimenez lets the injury heal. The Denver Post's Troy Renck reports that Jimenez last felt his thumb was 100 percent in his second spring training start. Renck also notes that Jimenez's two-seam grip creates friction on his thumb with each release.
For good news on the pitching finger front, Jorge De La Rosa has had no lasting effects from the blister he suffered last Saturday against Arizona and will move up in the rotation to take Jimenez's Friday start in Pittsburgh. And Jhoulys Chacin pitched well in a 3-0 shutout of the Dodgers yesterday, apparently with no injuries to his fingers at all.
More from our Baseball archive: "Colorado Rockies: Top five storylines heading into the season."