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Publish Date: 4/18/2005

Tsao pushes limits


DENVER Chin-hui Tsao might reach 99 miles per hour with his fastball these days, but he wont be doing it on consecutive days any time soon.

Thats according to the preference of Colorado Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca, whos in no hurry to place any added burden upon the right shoulder of the teams closer.

Tsao opened the season on the disabled list due to rotator cuff tendonitis. He saved the Rockies 5-4 defeat of San Francisco on Saturday in his first opportunity of the season. He hit some high numbers on the radar gun while doing so.

Apodaca said prior to Sundays series finale with the Giants that he doubted Tsao would be available to pitch. Manager Clint Hurdle confirmed after the game that was the case.

Im not eager for him to pitch (Sunday) at all, Apodaca said.

Apodaca said Tsao needs to build to the point where he can pitch on consecutive days, which he has not done since the shoulder flared late in spring training. Hes not to that point yet.

Tsao is usually in the 93-to-95 range on his fastball, so Saturdays velocity caught a few by surprise.

I dont expect anybody to go out there and hit 99, Apodaca said. Wed like to see those numbers in the strike zone.

Said Hurdle: (Tsao) seemed to be a little amped up. Im sure he was looking forward to making a good impression his first time with that opportunity and he was letting it fly.

Tsao said his shoulder feels pretty good and said he was excited to finally appear in a save situation. He had little to say about his velocity, however.

I dont know, Tsao said. I dont care about my speed. I just want to keep winning.

More pitching: Hurdle said Aaron Cook, whos recovering from two surgeries performed last year to relieve blood clots in his lungs, is progressing well. Cook was scheduled to appear in his second live bullpen session Sunday. Hurdle said his first one, held last week, went well.

The Rockies hope Cook will be ready in May.

Jose Acevedo threw four innings Saturday for Colorado Springs. Hurdle said Acevedo had good command of all four of his pitches and was between 91 and 94 on the radar gun. Hell start again in five days.

Jay Witasick, another recent acquisition, was scheduled to throw Sunday and today for Colorado Springs so the Rockies can see how he responds to pitching on consecutive days.

Ryan Speier threw the ninth for the Rockies, allowing a run. He was not available Saturday due to the flu, Apodaca said.

Bobby Seay arrived Sunday with an inflamed left pectoral muscle. Hurdle said its too soon to know if hes headed to the disabled list.

Splinters: Third baseman Garrett Atkins (hamstring) and outfielder Dustan Mohr (calf) ran the bases Sunday morning. Atkins is eligible to come off the disabled list today. Mohr is eligible Wednesday. They are expected to play with Triple-A Colorado Springs in Tucson this week. ... Colorado turned its 17th double play of the season in the second inning. The Rockies entered Sunday tied with Arizona leading the league. ... Outfielder Preston Wilson was not available Sunday due to flu-like symptoms, Hurdle said.

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