Blue Jays-Rockies preview

DENVER — Eddie Butler, whose days in the Colorado Rockies' rotation may be winding down, will try to end a two-game tailspin that has included a long relief appearance and start when he takes the mound Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Butler is 2-4 with a 6.71 ERA in 11 games, eight starts. Pressed into a relief outing on June 18 at Miami when starter Tyler Chatwood had to leave the game with a mid-back strain in the second, Butler allowed nine hits and six runs in 3 1/3 innings and ended up with the loss as the Rockies fell 9-6 to the Marlins.

Chatwood was placed on the disabled list, so Butler took his turn Thursday against Arizona. He wasn't involved in the decision as the Rockies lost 7-6, but Butler played a big part in that defeat as he allowed 11 hits and six runs in five innings. He gave up two homers in that relief outing at Miami and two more against the Diamondbacks and has yielded 11 homers in 51 innings this season.

Rockies manager Walt Weiss has repeatedly lauded Butler for the action on his two-seam fastball and slider but has stressed the need to keep those pitches at the bottom of the strike zone or lower for them to be effective.

“I hate pitching badly,” said Butler, who will be making his second interleague start and first against Toronto. “It's not fun doing that. It's not fun putting guys in a bad position where they're having to battle back every night.”

Chatwood is scheduled to make a rehab start Thursday and will be eligible to be reinstated July 4. In a rotation that includes Jorge De La Rosa, Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson and Chad Bettis, Butler would appear the most likely starter to lose his rotation spot to Chatwood, who is 8-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 14 starts.

“We need 'Chatty' back,” Butler said. “He's the anchor to our rotation right now. … He's been phenomenal all year. So as soon as we can get him, that's going to be great for the team. And if it means I don't have a spot, as long as we're winning, I don't care.”

The Blue Jays are 0-7 all-time at Coors Field, where they fell 9-5 on Monday night. Things are bound to be more normal and less emotional Tuesday for Toronto shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. He returned to Coors Field for the first time since the Rockies, who were in Chicago at the time, traded him to Toronto on July 27.

Tulowitzki met with a swarm of reporters for 10 minutes in the Blue Jays' dugout before batting practice. He renewed friendships with former Rockies teammates, manager Walt Weiss and his coaches, greeted stadium workers and members of the grounds crew and then stepped to the plate and received a loud 30-second ovation from the fans when he came to bat for the first time in the second.

That at-bat lasted eight pitches and ended when Tulowitzki took a third-strike slider from Jon Gray. Tulowitzki went 0-for-4 and didn't hit the ball out of the infield.

He was hitting .165 (19-for-115) after his first 32 games this season with six extra-base hits and a .569 OPS. But in 21 subsequent games entering Monday, Tulowitzki hit .299 (23-for-77) with 13 extra-base hits and a .976 OPS. He had gone 8-for-25 (.320) with two doubles, three homers and six RBIs in seven games since coming off the disabled list before returning to Coors Field.

Tuesday is bound to be a more business-as-usual game for Tulowitzki. His return to Coors Field, while not as triumphant as he might have hoped, is behind him and forever will be a happy memory.

“Honestly, I didn't think there was really any doubt that I would get (cheered)… I felt like when I was here I had a good relationship with the fans,” Tulowitzki said. “The whole Tulo chant thing, I remember seeing a lot of jerseys. I knew they were going to be good to me.”