The Denver Post - - SPORTS - — Nick Groke, The Den­ver Post

David Dahl’s re­turn from an un­usual rib in­jury might tick away his clock this sea­son. The Rock­ies out­fielder fi­nally re­turned to a base­ball field last week, and in four mi­nor­league starts he has six hits. His open­ing in the ma­jors, though, is clos­ing.

“He didn’t have spring train­ing. This fella has to get at-bats,” Colorado man­ager Bud Black said Mon­day at Coors Field. “So he will stay down there for a while to get some at-bats. We’ll see if there’s a re­turn to the big leagues or not.”

Black ac­knowl­edged that Dahl’s ex­tended ab­sence with a stressed rib bone — a freaky in­jury that pre­vented him from mak­ing ro­ta­tional move­ments, in­clud­ing hit­ting — put the 23-year-old be­hind sched­ule in his sec­ond sea­son.

“He has 15, 20 at-bats. That’s not very many,” Black said. “So he will stay down there for a while to get some at-bats. … He hasn’t played all sea­son.”

Dahl hit .315 with a .500 slug­ging per­cent­age last sea­son over 63 games af­ter a mid­sea­son call-up. His spot as the Rock­ies’ start­ing left fielder seemed se­cure. But in his sec­ond Cac­tus League game dur­ing spring train­ing, he felt a ten­der­ness in his up­per back. It was di­ag­nosed as a rib in­jury.

He re­turned only last week, for two games at Dou­ble-A Hart­ford, be­fore jump­ing to Triple-A. It left Dahl, one of the Rock­ies’ top prospects be­fore he de­buted last sea­son, a mys­tery to his man­ager.

“He’s tal­ented. But I haven’t seen him play, ex­cept on video,” Black said.

Ro­ta­tion ma­nip­u­la­tion.

Doc­tors on Mon­day checked out vet­eran right-han­der Tyler Chat­wood af­ter his ab­bre­vi­ated ap­pear­ance in New York on Satur­day. His di­ag­no­sis re­mains the same: a strained right calf. But his time on the dis­abled list will con­tinue without a timetable for re­turn, Black said.

In his place, rookie lefty Kyle Free­land pitched three hit­less in­nings in his first ca­reer re­lief ap­pear­ance. Count­ing a near no-hit­ter last week, Free­land has al­lowed just one hit over 11L in­nings.

“He got loose quickly, came in throw­ing strikes,” Black said. “He pitched with a great deal of ag­gres­sive­ness. He was out­stand­ing.”

The Rock­ies, though, want to give Free­land a breather by putting him in the bullpen to limit his in­nings. So he will not start in Chat­wood’s spot Fri­day. With an off day Thurs­day, rookie Jeff Hoff­man will pitch on reg­u­lar rest against the Pi­rates.

An­to­nio Sen­za­tela, a rookie right-han­der, will re­turn to the ro­ta­tion Tues­day against the Padres af­ter his bullpen so­journ. Jon Gray will pitch Wed­nes­day.

CarGo on hold.

Slump­ing right fielder Car­los Gon­za­lez did not start Mon­day, ced­ing his spot in the lineup to Ger­ardo Parra, but the Rock­ies will con­tinue to let the slug­ger try to re­cover his form.

“He had a nice stretch in late May, early June that hasn’t come back,” Black said. “There hasn’t been any­thing that we tried or he tried that has panned out. But be­lieve me, it’s com­ing.”

Gon­za­lez is hit­ting just 4for-33 over his past 10 games, and his sea­son av­er­age has dipped to .214.

“He’s frus­trated. But man, he’s a good Rockie,” Black said. “He’s still work­ing hard. And it’s go­ing to turn at some point. I wish I could tell you when. He’s been a pro, a team guy, very un­selfish player. He’s do­ing ev­ery­thing he can. His prepa­ra­tion is out­stand­ing.”


The Rock­ies re­called right-handed re­liever Jairo Diaz and sent down lefty Zac Ross­cup to Triple-A.

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