ST. LOUIS -- Rookie left-hander Christian Friedrich walked with no signs of a limp on Wednesday, meaning that his bruised right calf has recovered enough for him to start the finale of the four-game set against the Cardinals on Thursday.

Without the leg to worry about, Friedrich (4-5, 5.52 ERA) could focus on motivation. The standings say that the Rockies are a long way from playing big games, but Friedrich found reason to attack Thursday as important.

The Rockies split the first two games of the set, meaning Friedrich would either be trying to win the series or gain a split. It's preparation for the big games that he is confident he will be pitching in during his career.

"You want to win every game, but when things like that come along -- the opportunity to be the last guy before you get on the plane -- it's so much nicer to have a win, so it's a little more incentive," Friedrich said before Wednesday night's game. "It will just put us on a good path."

Friedrich, the Rockies' No. 1 Draft pick in 2008, grew up in the Chicago area and went to college at Eastern Kentucky, so some special people are in easy driving distance from St. Louis -- Jim Sakis, from whom he took lessons as a young pitcher, and Bradley University pitching coach John Corbin, who worked with Friedrich at Eastern Kentucky.

Outman sent to Minors to work on command

ST. LOUIS -- The Rockies optioned left-hander Josh Outman to the Minors on Wednesday with instructions to develop the command that could make his overpowering stuff work.

A lack of command has worked against Outman (0-3, 9.00 ERA) in his seven starts, the most recent a two-inning, five-walk struggle against the Cardinals on Monday night. Because there is an opportunity for him to pitch on Friday, he will go to Double-A Tulsa, and presumably will be fit into the Triple-A Colorado Springs rotation once the schedule allows.

"The message was very simple: The stuff that he possesses, let's do what we have to do to get it over the plate more consistently than he has done from the time that we inserted him and had him start some games," manager Jim Tracy said. "If he embraces that and does that as we move forward, we'll have a very good left-handed arm on our hands, but what we're dealing with is not going to work."

Outman, 27, missed the first month and a half of the season with a strained right oblique and encouraged the Rockies with his work as a left-handed situational reliever before being placed in the rotation. Tracy said that whether Outman returns as a starter or a reliever, the assignment is the same.

"I can't live with sitting here making decisions on back-end relievers where I'm not sure if we're going to throw the ball over the plate," Tracy said.

The Rockies also recalled right-hander Carlos Torres from Colorado Springs for the fourth time this season. Torres is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA with five walks and four strikeouts in six innings over four games with the Rockies.

Worth noting

• Right-hander Juan Nicasio, out since June 2 with a strained left knee, will not throw his simulated game on Thursday because of fluid on the knee. Nicasio threw a 40-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday and ran agility drills, then reported with the fluid on the knee Wednesday. This is the second such buildup; doctors drained the knee days after the injury was sustained. Nicasio was hoping to begin an injury rehab assignment soon. Now that's uncertain.

• Veteran pinch-hitter Jason Giambi was not available during Tuesday night's 3-2 victory over the Cardinals because of a stiff back, and his availability on Wednesday was questionable as well.

Giambi's lack of availability explains manager Jim Tracy's decision on Tuesday not to pinch-hit for pitcher Jeff Francis in the bottom of the fifth with two out and nobody on, even though Francis was not going to pitch the sixth.

• With two out in the seventh on Tuesday night, Tracy made a double-switch to bring in reliever Matt Belisle. The problem was that it cost him outfielder Tyler Colvin, who had accounted for all of the Rockies' runs with a three-run homer earlier in the game. Tracy said the move pained him, but he had to use Belisle in the next inning -- a number of relievers weren't available because of Josh Outman's tough two-inning outing the previous night -- and he wanted to do all he could to delay Belisle's spot coming up in the batting order.