DENVER -- The Rockies' search for a spot start in place of the injured Christian Friedrich (lower-back stress fracture) means a return trip to the Majors for Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood was set to pitch Saturday night for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers, but he was scratched from his start and is headed to Denver to pitch Sunday's series finale against the Giants.
The Rockies have not make an official announcement yet, since a corresponding roster move needs to be made and the club was not ready to announce the corresponding move Saturday night, but the Denver Post confirmed the reason for Chatwood's scratch with sources associated with the Drillers.
Chatwood was 1-1 with a 7.62 ERA in seven relief appearances spanning 13 innings in an earlier callup with the Rockies and is 1-3 with a 4.70 ERA in nine Triple-A starts and four Double-A starts this season.
The 22-year-old right-hander competed for a spot in the rotation in Spring Training and made the Rockies' Opening Day roster as a reliever. He was 6-11 with a 4.75 ERA in 27 games (25 starts) for the Angels last year, and he came to Colorado in a November trade for catcher Chris Iannetta.
Cuddyer joins Friedrich on disabled list
DENVER -- In the wake of Friday's 16-4 loss to the Giants, the Rockies' weekend got even worse as a pair of players landed on the disabled list.
Though manager Jim Tracy did not confirm it Saturday, rookie starting pitcher Christian Friedrich described the results of his MRI on Friday evening as season-ending.
"Stress fracture, lower back, right side, done for the year," Friedrich said.
Friedrich was scheduled to start Sunday after having his original Thursday start postponed because of back soreness.
"He went out to throw a bullpen yesterday, and the bullpen did not go well," Tracy said before Saturday's game with the Giants. "I didn't hear that term [season-ending] mentioned to me. The way it was presented to me this afternoon by [head athletic trainer Keith Duggers] is that there is no timetable at this juncture. My understanding is he's going to seek another opinon. We'll have more information at that time."
A second blow came when right fielder Michael Cuddyer joined Friedrich on the disabled list with a strained right oblique.
"I felt it running out that double," Cuddyer said of the injury he sustained Tuesday. "I had it on the left side about 10 years go. That was much worse."
The Rockies had hoped Cuddyer could improve with a couple of days' rest, but the improvement has been slow enough that they put him on the DL retroactive to Wednesday and activated Matt McBride, who was in the lineup making his big league debut at first base Saturday.
"He's not any worse than he was a couple days ago when I reported that he was feeling discomfort in his right side," Tracy said. "He took batting practices yesterday. He took some swings both in the cage and on the field. He wasn't able to let it go like he wanted to, and so rather than push this, we just felt that it was the smartest thing to do to go ahead and back off now and get him the extra days so we can get him back out on the field."
Having experienced an oblique injury before, Cuddyer was confident this injury was not nearly as serious.
"I'll be ready when the 15 days are up," Cuddyer said.
McBride gets callup, makes big league debut
DENVER -- Though starting pitchers Drew Pomeranz and Alex White have gotten most of the attention since coming to the Rockies from Cleveland in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade a year ago, multi-position player Matt McBride has also been heralded as a key part of the trade.
Drafted as a catcher by the Indians in 2006, McBride was in the lineup at first base Saturday for his big league debut. After working the count full and striking out against Madison Bumgarner in his first at-bat, McBride singled in the fifth and doubled in a run in the seventh, later scoring in the same inning and going 2-for-4 on the night.
"I thought Matt McBride represented himself extremely well," manager Jim Tracy said. "You see another guy who moving forward has a really good chance of being offensively oriented. He took some great at-bats tonight."
McBride learned of his callup Friday night in Des Moines, where the Triple-A Sky Sox were playing a series. His father, George, had driven from New Jersey to watch his son play in Iowa, but he quickly gassed up and steered on to Colorado for McBride's Major League debut.
"He did the navigation thing on his phone, and it was 10 or 11 hours," McBride said of his father's journey. "So he dropped me off at the airport, I took the flight and he drove. He got here right around game time."
The 27-year-old Pennsylvanian has played 653 games in the Minors, with roughly equal playing time in the infield (131), outfield (140) and behind the plate (133) heading into the 2012 season.
"That's the beauty of the guy, is the versatility," Tracy said. "There could be things in-game-wise strategically, depending on how we go from one game to the next with a starting pitcher, that opens the door for you to do this or do that and move this piece from point A to point B to create an offensive matchup. All that is in play."
Without question, McBride's greatest asset is his bat. Though he's never hit over .287 over the course of a full Minor League season, he was hitting .354 (130-for-367) in 91 games for Triple-A Colorado Springs, with 10 homers, 36 doubles, five triples, 77 RBIs, and a .941 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) highlighting his Pacific Coast League Mid-Season All-Star campaign.
"What a wonderful season he's had up to this point," Tracy said. "He's a big-time bat-to-ball guy, he's a gap-to-gap guy, and he has occasional power. You must give the young man his due. There's no better time to find out and gather some information about this guy than right now.
"Certainly from what we've seen in Triple-A I think you'd have to step away right now and say, 'Pretty good with the bat.' But let's see how some of that plays out up here at this level. This is a little different level. This is the next level."
McBride admitted to some nerves as he contemplated that next level before the game, but by the time he'd fielded the tail end of a first-inning double-play ball, he was settling into his comfort zone.
"It felt great," he said of his first moment in the Majors. "Obviously I have to try and just relax out there and just try to have fun. That's all you can do. Definitely the nerves can get to you a little bit."
Rockies' brass addresses Sanchez's woes
DENVER -- In a letter to season-ticket holders Friday, Rockies owner, chairman and chief executive officer Dick Monfort discussed the team's season so far as well as the Rockies' Opening Day starter and the pitcher they traded him for on July 20.
"The trade of Jeremy Guthrie for Jonathan Sanchez was hoping a change of scenery would bring improved performance," Monfort wrote. "We will continue to watch, but so far that has not been the case for either man."
Sanchez is 0-3 with a 9.53 ERA in three starts for the Rockies, yielding 13 runs (12 earned) on 17 hits and nine walks in 11 1/3 innings. A stalwart in the Giants rotation from 2006 through 2011 and the author of a no-hitter for San Francisco in 2009, Sanchez has not yet lost the faith of his new manager.
"We've seen this happen before," manager Jim Tracy said of Sanchez's quick decline. "We've seen guys like this show the capability of bouncing back and refinding themselves. That in itself is part of our intrigue with him, in that we put the work in, you do the due dilegence that you have to do in order to try and get him back."
Tracy thought the 29-year-old southpaw showed new life on his fastball Friday night, peaking at 92, but said his erratic command is holding him back.
"When you look at how old he is, do you give up?" Tracy queried. "I don't think you give up with an arm that has very heavy sink. He has an electric slider. He's always been a guy that has fought his command somewhat. You feel like you have a project on your hands, and you're going to try and move forward. That's simply what it boils down to."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.