COL@BOS: Rockies strike 'em out, throw 'em out

BOSTON -- Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino thought the Red Sox would want him. He was dominating at nearby Northeastern University and Boston brought him to Fenway Park for a pre-Draft workout.

As he lay in the cramped dorms at Speare Hall, he dreamed of pitching off the Fenway mound.

The Red Sox had two first-round picks in 2006. At No. 27, they selected Jason Place, who never made it past Double-A. At No. 28, they selected Daniel Bard, who enjoyed success as a reliever in Boston before a transition to the starting rotation halted his career and sent him back to the Minors.

Ottavino went two picks later, to the St. Louis Cardinals at No. 30.

One of just two Northeastern alums in the Majors (Carlos Pena is the other), Ottavino pitched at Fenway for the first time in a Major League game on Tuesday night, throwing 2 2/3 innings of one-run ball as he helped keep the bullpen from tiring after a brief start by Juan Nicasio.

"The atmosphere is second to none here, so it's really cool," said Ottavino, who was on the streets of Massachusetts Avenue to celebrate after the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series. "It's definitely one of the best places to play. I'm really happy I got that opportunity."

Ottavino had previously pitched against the Red Sox twice. One of the unique opportunities Northeastern presents its players is a chance to play against the Sox each year in Spring Training. Ottavino threw scoreless innings in back-to-back years.

"You have nothing to lose," he said. "If you do bad, you have an excuse. If you do good, you feel good about yourself. The first time, I walked the bases loaded and got out of it. The second time I did pretty good. I got Coco Crisp out, then gave up some hits and got some strikeouts."

Ottavino had a cup of coffee in the Majors while with the Cardinals organization, but he was claimed off waivers by the Rockies last April and has found new success as a reliever.

This season, he's been outstanding. In 41 2/3 innings, he's held opponents to a .227 average while posting a 1.94 ERA with 43 strikeouts.

"As a reliever, I'm able to throw my breaking ball a lot more often than when I was as a starter," he said. "As a starter, you don't want to throw your best stuff early and then not be able to throw it later in the game.

"Last night, I threw 53 pitches, which is about as much as I can get to, so I can just go right to it. I can go right to my bread and butter right away."

Sore right wrist keeps Fowler out of lineup

WSH@COL: Fowler hit by pitch in hand, remains in game

BOSTON -- Dexter Fowler was held out of the Rockies' lineup against the Red Sox on Wednesday with a sore right wrist, which he aggravated in Tuesday's 11-4 loss.

Fowler, who has played in 70 of the team's 78 games this season, is listed as day to day.

"We'll keep him down today and hopefully he'll be ready to go again tomorrow," said manager Walt Weiss. "We'll see."

Fowler hurt himself during an at-bat late in the game Tuesday and was visited by Weiss during a brief timeout, but he remained in the game.

With Troy Tulowitzki out until at least the All-Star break, any down time for Fowler could certainly be costly.

The speedy Fowler has been solid in center field this season. His success on the basepaths has improved tremendously, and his bat has really come alive.

While Fowler's OPS of .863 matches his OPS from last season, he's turned a lot of his triples into home runs. He has 10 homers through 258 at-bats after hitting 13 homers in 454 at-bats last season. Fowler's also been much more efficient on the bases, going 12-for-14 in stolen base attempts in 2013 after going 12-for-17 last year and 12-for-21 in '11.

In his absence, the Rockies turned to Tyler Colvin in center field. Colvin, who was part of the trade that brought DJ LeMahieu to Colorado and shipped Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers to the Cubs, has started in five games at center for Colorado this season and has yet to make an error.

At the plate, Colvin is hitting .175 with three home runs in 40 at-bats.

"Tyler has played a lot of center field and he's capable of production offensively too," Weiss said.

Nicasio's struggles may lead to demotion

SD@COL: Nicasio strikes out seven Padres' batters

BOSTON -- If Juan Nicasio had been able to command his fastball better, he probably wouldn't be in this position.

Falling behind hitters has caught up with the 26-year-old this season, and now the Rockies won't guarantee that he'll remain in the starting rotation.

After allowing a career-high 12 hits while getting trampled by the Red Sox in 2 1/3 frames during Tuesday's 11-4 loss, Nicasio's status with the club is uncertain. Manager Walt Weiss said he and team officials will discuss the right-hander's future over the next day or two and make a decision.

"I think it's tough when you don't have command of your fastball up here [in the Majors]," Weiss said. "It's really tough to pitch here."

Out of 329 batters Nicasio has faced this season, he's gotten ahead of just 56 percent of them. When he gets ahead, opposing hitters are batting .225. But once he's fallen behind 1-0, Nicasio is getting smacked around to the tune of a .311 average and .819 OPS.

"At times, he struggled with bad counts," Weiss said. "You talk about bad counts, he's gotten in bad counts and he's having to throw his fastball. Even though it's a good fastball, big league hitters don't miss it in fastball counts. That's what's been tough for him."

A trip to Triple-A Colorado Springs is not unimaginable, especially considering how well Drew Pomeranz has performed there of late. On the season, Pomeranz has 96 strikeouts to 33 walks in 85 2/3 innings with a 4.20 ERA in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

The Rockies could use some consistency in their rotation, as they're about to enter a stretch of 16 straight games played against National League West opponents, starting with the Giants on Friday.

Worth noting

• Manny Corpas has given the Rockies stability out of the bullpen since returning in early June.

"It's nice, because there is some versatility there," Weiss said. "He can get a ground ball and get out of some traffic or he can give you a couple innings. He's very versatile. He's pitched in a lot of big games. It's a nice piece to have."

• The Rockies lead the Majors in stolen-base success rate, having swiped bases at 85 percent (58-for-68) entering play Wednesday.

• Carlos Gonzalez was in the lineup Wednesday batting second for just the second time this season and 22nd time in his career. He's a .291 hitter with six homers out of the two-spot.