LOS ANGELES -- Rockies' rookie catcher Wilin Rosario returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday after being off the past two games and playing just two of the past five.
Colorado manager Jim Tracy said the break was not only to give his 23-year-old backstop a rest, but also to give him some time to work on some things defensively with catching coach Jerry Weinstein.
"A couple days off to spend some additional time with Jerry, talk about it, work on some of these things," Tracy said. "[We want to] give him a day here and there where he's able to get back in the lab, do stuff with Jerry, see how it looks, because it's a very important aspect."
"We're working on a lot of things, but primarily just the blocking piece right now," Weinstein said. "Just a lot of little things every day. he's got a lot on his plate."
In particular, Tracy and Weinstein both said they want Rosario to "soften up" behind the plate, which would help his receiving and framing of pitches, but would also help him to deaden balls in the dirt to better control the rebound.
"The past couple days, we've worked on softening his body so he can absorb the ball more," Weinstein said. "In today's game, baserunners read balls in the dirt readily, so if the ball kicks too far away from you, they're going to advance and you start giving up free bases."
But blocking, while the focus this week, is just one facet of a catcher's game. Weinstein said he and Rosario also talk a great deal about game management, particularly realizing that while there may not always be one correct pitch for a given situation, confidence and conviction in choosing it is crucial -- something that can be tough for a young catcher to do consistently with a young pitching staff.
Perfecting Rosario's defensive skills is a priority for the Rockies because of the prolific success he's had offensively. Coming into Wednesday, Rosario was leading all National League rookies in home runs (18), RBIs (44) and slugging percentage (.522).
But the Rockies staff wants to give him ample time to develop defensively, Weinstein believes his pupil has already made great strides.
"I'm very close to the situation, so sometimes you don't see the forest through the trees," Weinstein said. "But if you look at what he did at the end of last year when he was up here and where he is now? It's like night and day."
Tulo takes a step forward in bid to return
LOS ANGELES -- Rockies' shortstop Troy Tulowitzki tested his surgically-repaired left groin before Tuesday's game with the Dodgers in a workout that included 75 ground balls on the Dodger Stadium infield.
According to Rockies manager Jim Tracy, not all of those ground balls were right at the 27-year-old, as Tulowitzki also fielded balls to his left and right. Those quick steps into the hole and up the middle represent important steps in Tulowitzki's road back from an injury that has limited him to just 47 games this season: They forced Tulo to make repeated lateral movements, something that places stress on the groin.
"That's probably the most workload I've done in one day. Eeverything felt good," Tulowitzki said.
More importantly, he said everything still felt good on Wednesday, which has Tulowitzki on pace for what Tracy called a "ramped up" workout Friday.
Tulowitzki had arthroscopic surgery to remove scar tissue in his left groin in June, after re-aggravating the injury in a Triple-A rehab assignment at Colorado Springs. That experience has Tulowitzki being a little more careful this time around.
"Before, I think, if I had any problems I would try to fight through it. Now, I'm pretty honest with these guys," Tulowitzki said. "I don't want to back things up. It's already been a long year and there's no reason to carry this into the offseason."
While he's being cautious, Tulowitzki said his goal is to return this year and build chemistry with the young talent that has emerged in his absence, as the Rockies look to build into 2013.
"I want to get a chance to play with some of these young kids," Tulowitzki said. "To take the field with them, get familiar with them, and them get familiar with me heading into next season if they're going to be a part of the team."
Rockies' outfielder Carlos Gonzalez was given a planned day off Wednesday, which will end up being two days of rest when combined with Thursday's off day, the team's last until August 30, a daunting scenario that manager Jim Tracy said was a factor in the decision to rest his superstar.
Jhoulys Chacin followed up a successful rehab outing Monday with a strong, 25-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. Tracy said Chacin had "general soreness in all the right places," and will pitch a rehab start of about 85-90 pitches on Saturday for Triple-A Colorado Springs. The team will then decide whether or not the 24-year-old will require another rehab outing or be ready to join the big league club.
Chelsea Janes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.