Shawn Chacon appears to be fully recovered from the right elbow inflammation that sidelined him earlier this month.
Now he hopes to continue building on the best season of his three-year career.
Chacon will look to end a season high-tying three-start winless streak as the Rockies continue a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
Chacon, who went 11-21 over his first two big league seasons, has already matched that win total with two full months to go in 2003. The 25-year-old right-hander won seven of eight starts before experiencing swelling in his elbow during a 9-0 loss at Pittsburgh on June 29.
He was placed on the disabled list two days later, missing a chance to pitch in the All-Star game, and did not return until July 19, when he lasted just 4 1-3 innings in a 5-3 loss at San Francisco.
Chacon returned to his pre-All-Star break form on Thursday, yielding just three hits over seven innings in the Rockies’ 1-0, 11-inning loss at Los Angeles.
“I was really pleased with the way I pitched,” said Chacon, “especially after my outing in San Francisco.
“My stuff was there, my command was there. I knew it was going to be a tough game, coming in here facing Kevin Brown. … I had the mindset today that I wanted to shut ‘em out.”
The Rockies took Tuesday’s series opener 5-3, as Jay Payton had a career high-tying four hits for Colorado, spoiling the managing debut of Cincinnati skipper Dave Miley.
Miley, who took over for interim manager Ray Knight, replaces Bob Boone, whom the Reds fired Monday. Shortstop Ray Olmedo committed three of Cincinnati’s season high-tying four errors as the Reds had a three-game winning streak snapped.
STANDINGS (through July 28): Rockies - 4th place, 13 1/2 GB, NL West. Reds - 5th place, 10 GB, NL Central.
ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Chacon (11-5, 4.17 ERA). Chacon has not received a decision in two career starts against the Reds despite surrendering 13 runs and 15 hits in only 9 1-3 innings.
REDS PROBABLE STARTER: Danny Graves (4-11, 5.45 ERA). Graves is 0-4 in his last five starts, including Friday’s 3-1 loss to the New York Mets. The right-hander allowed three runs and a season high-tying 11 hits over eight innings, striking out one without a walk. Graves has won just one of his last nine decisions, a 5-3 victory at Pittsburgh on July 1. The converted reliever will make his first career start against the Rockies. He is 2-1 with seven saves and a 4.05 ERA in 17 career appearances against Colorado.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rockies - Todd Helton, .347 avg. and 96 runs; Preston Wilson, 27 HRs and 102 RBIs; Tony Womack, 11 SBs. Reds - Jose Guillen, .337 avg.; Adam Dunn, 26 HRs and 65 runs; Aaron Boone, 65 RBIs and 15 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 2-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rockies - OF Larry Walker has missed consecutive games with a sore hamstring. … LHP Denny Neagle saw Reds orthopedist Dr. Timothy Kremchek for a second opinion Tuesday. Neagle has been given the option of season-ending surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, or trying to rehabilitate it. …OF Payton has six career four-hit games, including two this season. Reds - The Reds lead the majors with 104 errors. … SS Olmedo’s three errors Tuesday were the most by a Red since SS Pokey Reese had four in the 1998 season opener. … 3B Aaron Boone is 3-for-5 with a homer and five RBIs in his career against RHP Chacon.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rockies - 18-37 on the road; Reds - 23-30 at home.
INJURIES: Rockies - RHP Nelson Cruz (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Neagle (elbow), 15-day DL; OF Chris Richard (shoulder), 60-day DL. Reds - OF Austin Kearns (shoulder), 15-day DL; OF Wily Mo Pena (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Sullivan (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Gabe White (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Luke Prokopec (elbow), 60-day DL; OF Ken Griffey Jr. (ankle), 60-day DL.