It's already August, but as far as Jordan Lyles is concerned it might as well be early April. The right-hander, who has not pitched since suffering a fractured left (non-throwing) hand June 4 on a play at the plate, will make his return to the mound Wednesday night at Coors Field against fellow righty Jake Arrieta and the Cubs.
And he's pretty excited about it.
"I'm just ready," said Lyles, who will end a run of 20 consecutive starts by lefties for the Rockies. "I've been sitting around watching, watching and it's finally here. I'm just ready to get after it. My excitement level is up there with an Opening Day start."
Lyles' return comes after a rocky two months on the disabled list. He had been scheduled to pitch July 28, but X-rays revealed his hand had not healed as expected and Colorado moved him to the 60-day DL. That made him ineligible to return until Monday.
Lyles is expected to throw 85-100 pitches after tossing a pair of scoreless rehab outings, in which he lasted a combined 8 1/3 innings while scattering six hits and four walks and striking out eight. Lyles worked up to 66 pitches with Triple-A Colorado Springs on July 30.
Manager Walt Weiss is prepared for a less-than-perfect Lyles, who pitched to a 3.52 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 12 starts before getting hurt.
"I think when you miss as much time that Jordan has, you're not going to have impeccable command your first time back," Weiss said. "I don't think there'll be any difference in his velocity. Because of the nature of his injury, he's been able to throw even when he's been away."
Arrieta knows about going deep into games. He has pitched at least six innings in each of his last 10 starts, and has lasted at least seven frames in six of them.
Most recently was a one-run, seven-inning effort against the Rockies on Thursday. Colorado's top five hitters went a combined 4-for-19.
"His confidence, his composure -- the ability to use, in practical terms, his stuff. He's got great stuff," manager Rick Renteria said of Arrieta's breakout campaign. "There are situations this year where he might have gotten into a little traffic and was able to manage that traffic well, where in the past, he might have gotten into that traffic and had it snowball. Every outing, his confidence has gotten better and better."
This will be the first time in Arrieta's five Major League seasons that he will face the same team in consecutive starts.
Cubs: Kyuji Fujikawa rejoins club, could be activated Wednesday
Right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa, a 34-year-old who signed with the Cubs out of Japan in December 2012, rejoined the club in Denver and is expected to be activated from the DL this week, potentially Wednesday.
Fujikawa hasn't pitched for the Cubs since May 2013. He underwent Tommy John surgery a month later.
"He came in [Tuesday] and said he's ready to go, however I want to use him," Renteria said. "We'll try to find a spot that suits him the best."
In 11 2/3 innings spanning 12 Minor League rehab appearances, Fujikawa allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits and three walks. He also struck out 13 batters.
Rockies: CarGo 'probably' back in lineup Wednesday
Weiss feared worse when Carlos Gonzalez hurt his right ankle Friday, but as it turns out, all the Rockies outfielder needed was a couple of days to rest. Gonzalez will "probably" be back in the lineup and starting in right field on Wednesday, according to Weiss.
"I'm feeling good," Gonzalez said before the game. "Hopefully I get the start [Wednesday]."
Added Weiss: "He's [someone] who I thought was going to be a possible DL situation. But he's made a lot of improvement and I want to give him a day to do some baseball activity."
Gonzalez, who walked in his pinch-hit appearance Tuesday, has hit .170 (9-for-53) with 21 strikeouts and three walks since returning from finger surgery on July 11. In 66 games this season, Gonzalez has a career-low average (.237) with 10 homers and 36 RBIs.
• Rockies left-hander Brett Anderson left his start Tuesday in the fourth inning with lower back spasms.
• Javier Baez was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in his Major League debut Tuesday before his 12th-inning homer put the Cubs on top. Baez, 21, is the Cubs' No. 2 prospect.
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.