DENVER -- Rockies rookie left-hander Drew Pomeranz said the movement on his fastball surprised him Tuesday night, when he pitched for Double-A Tulsa in a tuneup for his first Major League start of 2012, Sunday at Coors Field against the D-backs.
Pomeranz, 23, sent to the Minors to begin the year because the club didn't need a fifth starter the first time through the rotation, threw four scoreless innings, gave up four hits, struck out four, walked one and hit one in Tulsa's 6-3 victory at Corpus Christi.
But it took 77 pitches to get through four, and the outing required him to work out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second inning before striking out two batters.
"My fastball was cutting a lot -- it could've been the Minor League balls, it could've been me getting on the side of the baseball," Pomeranz said by text. "I got into a lot of deep counts, left a lot of people stranded on base, but they still didn't hit it. I could've thrown more pitches, but I threw a lot in a short amount."
Manager Jim Tracy said the Rockies will limit Pomeranz's innings, mostly by skipping him on occasion. Pomeranz threw 118 1/3 innings, including 18 1/3 with the Rockies, in his first professional season, so the Rockies don't want a dramatic jump this year. But Tracy will not announce a pitch count for a given game.
"We have to be mindful as we go along to the innings buildup, but the pitch count will take care of itself whether it's Drew Pomeranz or any member of our staff," Tracy said. "They stay in the game longer if they are efficient."
Scutaro succeeds by being selective at plate
DENVER -- Patience is Rockies leadoff man Marco Scutaro's calling card.
In the season's first four games, Scutaro has a hit in three of them and is averaging 4.46 pitches per plate appearances, tops on his team and eighth in the National League, and has averaged more than four pitches a plate appearance twice in the last three years.
It's harder than it looks. Scutaro, like many leadoff hitters, is not physically imposing. He has 68 home runs in 1,106 career games. Many hitters like this have trouble drawing walks -- a trait that can make a hitter special to the top of the order -- because pitchers aren't afraid he'll make them pay with one swing. But although he didn't earn his first walk of the season until the first inning of Wednesday's game vs. the Giants, Scutaro has a healthy .338 career on-base percentage.
"Early in the count, I try to focus on my pitch, and if it's not there, I try not to swing at it," Scutaro said. "It sounds easy to say, but it's kind of hard to do. Then later in the count, or with two strikes, I just try to battle."
The pitch Scutaro wants is rarely the first one. He hasn't swung at a first pitch in the season's first four games and has offered at it just 489 times in 4,256 career plate appearances.
Yet 29 of his 117 first-pitch hits have gone for extra bases -- 24 doubles and five home runs. So there's enough in that bat to prevent pitchers from thinking it's an easy strike.
"At some point in my career, I tried to learn to hit the first pitch, because sometimes that's the best pitch to hit," he said. "So I'll mix it up, depending on how I feel, so they don't think I'll always take it. I'll try to ambush you."
Rockies hitting coach Carney Lansford said Scutaro uses brain as much as bat.
"He has a plan," Lansford said. "The other team gets the same scouting reports we get on their guys. He's just a professional hitter."
Rockies confident Chacin will rebound
DENVER -- The good news is there is no unforeseen reason that Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin pitched poorly in Monday's home opener. He gave up four runs and threw 90 pitches in just four innings of the 7-0 loss to the Giants.
Although he is 3-11 since last June 27, manager Jim Tracy is not in panic mode. On occasion, even when he was struggling last year, he fixed his bad habit and threw fine for a small stretch.
On Monday, Chacin gave up a two-run, first-inning homer to Pablo Sandoval, which was no cause for shame. The third inning, when he walked three and gave up two runs, was a concern. A single through the middle and a grounder that didn't produce a double play drove in what Tracy called "easy runs."
"This is something we've dealt with going back to last year," Tracy said. "In his delivery he has a tendency to run away from his arm. You start to see the arm-side misses up and away, like we did on Monday. He's mindful of that.
"But it's one start, and we'll get him ready to go with his next start. Hopefully with his bullpen session, we'll get him to where he'll be more consistent."
Rosario prohibited from wearing white gear
DENVER -- Rockies rookie catcher Wilin Rosario's plan to wear predominately white catching gear with the home uniform was nixed by Major League Baseball, Rosario said before Wednesday night's game against the Giants.
Rosario, who wore a well-received ensemble featuring a silver chest protector and shin guards with the road gray uniform in Houston in the season-opening series, wore a chest protector heavily decorated with white features at Double-A Tulsa last year.
"I don't know why," Rosario said. "They told me I could wear white in the Minors but not in the Majors. It's OK. I still get to wear my purple mask. The fans like that."
An MLB spokesman said the new Basic Agreement includes the following in its uniform regulations: "Catchers' shin guards and chest protectors may not contain any white (other than the corporate logo)."
The spokesman said it's a safety concern. A white ball against the background of white catcher's gear poses challenges, such as for fielders seeing the ball off the bat.
Uniform regulations are administered by MLB's on-field operations department, led by Joe Garagiola Jr.
Rockies left-handed reliever Josh Outman, on the 15-day disabled list for a right oblique strain he suffered vomiting while battling food poisoning, is playing catch at 120 feet and gradually rebuilding to the point where he can throw off a mound.
Outfielder Charlie Blackmon, who suffered a right big toe injury in Spring Training, has been playing this week in extended spring training. Tracy said the club will make a decision about the next step after assessing his progress Thursday. Tracy did not outline the plan, but Blackmon most likely will join Triple-A Colorado Springs when declared healthy.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.