DENVER -- Rafael Betancourt was happy to be preparing for a Rockies game rather than packing Tuesday afternoon.Betancourt's name surfaced in the Denver Post as a player the Rockies could move before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, with the Rangers, Angels, Rays, Blue Jays and Athletics as possible trading partners. But with Betancourt under a contract that guarantees him $4.5 million next season, plus a $4.25 million mutual option for 2014, the Rockies held a high asking price. Betancourt, 37, believes what many club officials are saying, that the Rockies -- despite being on pace for their first 100-loss season in their 20-season history -- aren't far from winning. Betancourt hopes to be a part of a Colorado team with healthy pitching next season, and see if the club can return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. "Injuries are what's going on right now," Betancourt said. "If we get healthy, we've got the guys we need. We'll get Tulo [shortstop Troy Tulowitzki] back and we can do something. That's why I want to stay here. "When you've got almost all your starting rotation hurt, you can't compete against most teams. Almost every team that we play in the National League has three good starting pitchers. I don't mean the other two are bad, but their front guys are really good. You have to have that." Betancourt, who joined the Rockies in a trade with the Indians in late 2009, said a healthy Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio could make a difference. De La Rosa hasn't pitched all year because of elbow surgery last year. Chacin struggled before going to the disabled list with a chest nerve injury in early May and didn't throw a rehab game until Sunday. Nicasio is out for the year with a knee injury suffered in early June. Betancourt's contract does not give him the right to veto a trade, but he clearly did not want one. He said Rockies management kept him informed about trade possibilities. Now that a trade didn't occur, Betancourt hopes he can help the Rockies finish this season strong and feel like a contender going into 2013. "I don't want to deal with this next year," Betancourt said. "I know we still have two months of this season so we can try to get everything together and it will be a different situation -- that we can try to get somebody. Move forward, man." Betancourt (1-3, 2.92 ERA) has converted 17 of 21 save opportunities in a year of sporadic chances. Manager Jim Tracy also said Betancourt has been a leader among relief pitchers off the field, in addition to being an effective strike-thrower. "He is an integral part of the fabric of our ballclub, especially the back end of our bullpen," Tracy said. "There's always a fit for a strike-throwing machine that's an incredible competitor." Left-handed reliever Matt Reynolds also has been mentioned as a possible trade target, and catcher Ramon Hernandez and pinch-hitter Jason Giambi were veterans many felt could help a contending club. The only pre-deadline trade the Rockies made occurred Sunday, when they sent veteran second baseman Marco Scutaro to the Giants for 2007 supplemental first-round Draft pick Charlie Culberson, an infielder. Now that the non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. The player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.
Tulowitzki takes BP, on pace to return on time
DENVER -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki took batting practice Tuesday afternoon -- his first time doing pregame hitting since undergoing surgery June 21 to clear up scar tissue in his left groin.
"It gives me something to do, instead of just being bored all the time," Tulowitzki said. "At least now I can look forward to hitting on the field and hopefully taking some ground balls. It's always nice to get back and do what you love doing."It's been a tough year. It's hard to put it into words." Tulowitzki hasn't played since May 30. He went to the disabled list with a .287 batting average, eight home runs and 27 RBIs in 47 games. His health was compromised from the season's first series, when he first suffered the injury. He appeared headed back to the lineup, but he felt pain in his first injury rehab game at Triple-A Colorado Springs. The Rockies sent him to a sports hernia specialist, who determined that the problem was scar tissue from earlier injuries. Tulowitzki was expected back eight weeks after surgery and he's on schedule, meaning if there are no setbacks, he'll work hard in pregame drills for the next two weeks, begin a rehab assignment for about a week, then return to the lineup. "I've been hitting in the cage and I knew I was going to be all right," Tulowitzki said. "The ball was coming off [the bat] in the cage, so the power was still there and my game wasn't going to change. But it was nice to go out there and take it out to the field. "You've got to start acting as if you're playing, [working] back-to-back days. Now if it hurts, that's another story. Tomorrow if it's bugging me, I'll take the day off, but I'm planning on it being fine." With the Rockies 37-64 and going through such severe starting pitching struggles that they're on pace for the first 100-loss season, there is no rush to put Tulowitzki on the field. Tulowitzki said the Rockies have told him in no uncertain terms not to "do anything stupid." He will wear a wrap or tights on the leg. But when things are this difficult, at least it's something. Manager Jim Tracy went out of his way to mention Tulowitzki after Tuesday night's sixth straight home loss, 11-6, to the Cardinals. "What is very intriguing to me is, for the most part, what we continue to do offensively, and seeing our shortstop out there taking some batting practice early today and wondering what our offense looks like when we get to the point when we're able to get him back," Tracy said.
Friedrich's next start pushed back to Sunday
DENVER -- Citing the need to get Christian Friedrich over the midseason hurdle, the Rockies have announced he won't pitch until Sunday against the Giants.Friedrich was scheduled to pitch Thursday against the Cardinals. "We'll back him up a couple days, then put him back out there," manager Jim Tracy said. "He's a little stiff and sore. [He has] some tightness in his lower back." The rookie left-hander has allowed 14 runs in his last 14 innings. Friedrich's last two seasons in the Minors, with Double-A Tulsa, have been cut short due to elbow injuries.
Friedrich said over the weekend he planned on cutting back on his weight-lifting regimen before his next start to provide time for healing.
Fowler sits out with flu-like symptoms
DENVER -- Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler was scratched from Tuesday's lineup against the Cardinals with flu-like symptoms.
Eric Young Jr. started in center field in the series opener.Fowler, second among National League leadoff hitters with a .326 average since moving to the top spot May 28, left the clubhouse and went home with an upset stomach.
Jonathan Herrera (left wrist infection) was activated from the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday's game against the Cardinals. In a corresponding move, Tommy Field was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Herrera, a middle infielder, did not start. Infielder Chris Nelson played with Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday night. Nelson was placed on the 15-day disabled list July 17 with an irregular heartbeat and received treatment at Sky Ridge Hospital to have his heart shocked back into regular rhythm. He resumed regular baseball activity over the weekend.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Trey Scott is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.