PHILADELPHIA -- Before Tuesday's loss to the Phillies, Rockies manager Jim Tracy made the unconventional move to go to a four-man rotation, in which each starter would be limited to roughly 75 pitches per outing.
In an interview on Wednesday on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca said the change was "out of necessity."
"We're dealing with a very youthful, for the most part, rotation, very little experience," Apodaca said in the interview with hosts Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin. "We haven't been getting the type of production, especially at home. Coors Field is playing different this year than in past years. It's wreaked havoc on all pitching staffs, not just ours, and we haven't been getting the production, as far as length, out of our starters.
"We have to deal with who we are and not with who we are not. So this took a lot of discussion, it was an organizational decision, it wasn't any one person's decision, and so we decided this was the best avenue for us, where it was an easier transition."
The four-man rotation consists of Jeff Francis, Alex White, Josh Outman and Christian Friedrich. Opening Day starter Jeremy Guthrie has been moved to the bullpen.
In the first day of Tracy's experiment, Outman was lifted after 4 1/3 innings in which he threw 72 pitches. He allowed four runs on five hits. On Wednesday, Alex White threw exactly 75 pitches over 3 2/3 innings, surrendering five runs on five hits with two walks and no strikeouts.
Francis and Friedrich will start on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
With the pitch count of 75 pitches, it makes it much tougher for pitchers to reach the five innings needed to be eligible for a win.
"I think when a team succeeds, I think the players succeed," Apodaca said. "So we're asking them, at this point in time, to really focus on thinking of their teammates and what's best for this team at this moment in time and put their egos outside the clubhouse door. And so when they put that uniform on, they're playing for the name on the front."
CarGo back in Rockies' lineup
PHILADELPHIA -- Carlos Gonzalez was back in the lineup on Wednesday after being scratched on Sunday and not playing on Tuesday because of a strained left knee.
Gonzalez batted third and played left field.
"They checked it out thoroughly, and he was out here [on Tuesday] taking [batting practice]," manager Jim Tracy said before Wednesday's game against the Phillies. "He felt fine. There was a part of me that was saying he probably wanted a piece of the action [on Tuesday], but our head trainer made the decision that one more day would be much more feasible, rather than to push it. He's ready to go."
Gonzalez's return to the lineup was certainly welcomed by the struggling Rockies, who have lost 11 of their last 12 games. Gonzalez leads Colorado with a .335 average, 17 home runs, 51 RBIs and nine stolen bases.
Guthrie available to pitch out of bullpen
PHILADELPHIA -- It was possible that Jeremy Guthrie could make his first appearance out of the bullpen in Wednesday's game against the Phillies, just one day after being bumped from the starting rotation.
Guthrie, whose last start came on Sunday, said he was available to pitch on Wednesday.
"I look forward to any opportunity to try and pitch better and help the team win," Guthrie said. "That's what they've asked me to do right now, and I hope I can do it well and be a positive impact on the team."
With Guthrie moving to the bullpen, manager Jim Tracy will use a four-man rotation of Jeff Francis, Josh Outman, Christian Friedrich and Alex White, who took the mound on Wednesday. Each starter will be limited to 75 pitches per outing.
Guthrie, who is 3-6 with a 7.02 ERA, said he hadn't been told about the four-man rotation, only that he was moving to the bullpen.
"I'm just disappointed that I haven't been able to pitch better and help this team and do what they expected me to do," Guthrie said. "I haven't had much positive impact on the Rockies this year, which is my ultimate goal."
The 33-year-old right-hander, who is in his first season with the Rockies, started his career with Cleveland as a reliever and has 23 career relief appearances.
Guthrie pitched twice as a reliever last season with the Orioles, once in a 15-inning game on May 15 and again on July 10, the day before the All-Star break.
He is 1-1 with a 5.94 in 47 career innings of relief.
"I'm trying to work on situational pitching," Guthrie said. "If I have an 0-2 count, making a better two-strike pitch. Trying to work on overall pitches down in the zone more consistently and try to get some more ground balls."
Infielder Jonathan Herrera is "getting close" to returning to the Rockies, Tracy said. Herrera went 1-for-5 as the designated hitter in a rehab game with Double-A Tulsa on Tuesday and was slotted to play shortstop in the Drillers' game on Wednesday.
Pitcher Juan Nicasio, who was placed on the disabled list with a strained left knee on June 3, threw a "very good" bullpen session on Tuesday, Tracy said.
Drew Pomeranz threw six no-hit innings for Triple-A Colorado Springs in an 8-2 win on Tuesday night. His velocity was up and his delivery and command were better, according to Tracy.
"A guy goes out there and starts doing that on any kind of a regular basis, he's making a statement for himself, that's for sure," Tracy said.
Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.