Jorge De La Rosa, who last pitched for the Colorado Rockies in May 2011, will resume his rehab work on Wednesday when he makes a start for the rookie league Grand Junction Rockies. This is all taking place with an eye towards next season’s spring training, as De La Rosa will not pitch for the Rockies this season.
I attended the game in which De La Rosa injured his elbow, at a moment last season when hope was not lost for a successful season. In some ways the deflated feeling of that day still has not left this team, the recent surge of its youth notwithstanding. Ever since he found his groove for the Rockies in the 2009 season I have considered him one of the 3 most important members of the team. It is unclear whether or not that opinion will hold much merit when he does return considering all of the changes to the organization in his absence.
The first change is the new pitching
coach coaches. I understand some may scoff at this suggestion because many felt that Bob Apodaca stepped down from the role as a failure. Whatever your feelings on ‘Dac this season, he unquestionably was a huge part of De La Rosa’s career resurgence and his decision to re-sign with the Rockies before 2011. I am nervous about the prospects of him working back from this injury without ‘Dac.
Secondly, the Rockies will have to decide if they will make De La Rosa part of the paired pitching system.
To do that, they have to decide why they are actually doing it: if it is a pitch count imposed to “protect pitchers at altitude,” then it would seem every pitcher will be held to it, whether they like it or not. If it is a system to protect pitchers with mediocre stuff from being exposed the third time through the lineup, then it need not apply to De La Rosa and his electric stuff.
It ends up being a blessing that the Rockies are not asking De La Rosa to return to the team this season because too many things are uncertain. Hopefully philosophies and strategies will be solidified by the Spring so that he can return with a chance to truly regain his ace form.