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April 18, 2008 12:44 PM

Prospect setbacks

Prize shortstop prospect Hector Gomez has a stress fracture in his left shin and could be out for up to eight weeks. The injury occurred opening night April 3 when Gomez, playing for Modesto, fouled a ball off the shin.
The Rockies sent Gomez to Tucson, hoping he could get some at-bats in extended spring training and return to Modesto. That didn't happen and Gomez likely will be examined in Denver within a week.

Health is again an issue for Josh Sullivan, a power pitching prospect when the Rockies took him in the fifth round out of Auburn in 2005 who has pitched just 120 1/3 professional innings.

Sullivan had the ulnar nerve moved in his right elbow March 28 and on Monday will return to Tucson to continue his rehabilitation. He estimates it'll take about 2 ½ months to work up to where he's ready to pitch again, a timetable that would put his return shortly before the All-Star break.

Sullivan's problems began last season when he went 3-2 with a 3.26 ERA at low Single-A Asheville but twice went on the disabled list. He was improved by the end of the season but in spring training began having problems that were as bad as anything he'd experienced.

Sullivan was in the Modesto work group. But after throwing one session of live batting practice and then working two innings in his first game and four innings in his second, Sullivan was shut down.

Sullivan pitched one inning at short-season Tri-City in 2005 but was sidelined with a shoulder problem until the instructional league. He tried to pitch there without success and had surgery. Sullivan's shoulder is as good as new, and his hope is to be able to get on the mound for a month or more this year with his elbow woes behind him and move forward in earnest in 2009.

Ching-Lung Lo went 8-8 with a 5.61 ERA at Tulsa last year and has regressed upon his return there this season. He has had three shaky starts, the worst coming Thursday when he allowed seven hits and nine runs, eight earned, in 1 1/3 innings as the Drillers were drilled 20-5 at Springfield. The Rockies gave Lo, 22, a $1.4 million signing bonus to leave Taiwan and was 16 when he began his professional career at Rookie Casper in 2002.
In addition to going 0-3 with an 18.00 ERA for Tulsa, Lo has allowed 26 baserunners in eight innings, while throwing a staggering 185 pitches in the process. With a fastball sitting at 88 mph, Lo hasn't missed many bats, as evidenced by just two strikeouts.

Jordan Pacheco is making the conversion to catcher in extended spring training. A ninth-round pick out of the University of New Mexico last year, Pacheco played second base at Casper last year and hit .292 with a .380 on-base percentage and .411 slugging percentage. The Rockies, who are flush with middle infielders, like Pacheco's bat and think it will have more impact as a catcher.

--Jack Etkin



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