The pitching staff for the Colorado Rockies could have a completely different look and feel by the time the Rockies finish their three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park this week.
Walt Weiss has indicated that Jorge De La Rosa will be activated and get the start on Tuesday in the series opener against the Red Sox. De La Rosa was put on the disabled list after suffering a groin injury on April 26 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That was the low point of the season for Colorado’s Opening Day starter, who went just 1-3 with a 10.18 ERA in five April starts.
Four of De La Rosa’s five starts lasted less than five innings and he never gave up fewer than three earned runs in any of his five starts.
Sent down to Albuquerque to not only heal his injury but also to hopefully find his pitching groove again, the 35-year-old southpaw logged a 4.30 ERA in three starts. He went the longest in his last start on May 19 against New Orleans, throwing seven innings. However, he also gave up four runs on six hits.
Prior to the Rockies leaving for their nine-game road trip to St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Boston, Weiss had indicated that De La Rosa still had plenty of work to do before rejoining the Rockies rotation. Apparently, he feels confident that that work has been done.
“He took care of his business during that time,” Weiss told MLB.com. “We wanted to see more efficiency. He did that. We just wanted him back to being who he is. Obviously, there is a strong track record, maybe not necessarily early this year, but he’s got plenty of track record that he can lean on.”
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The Rockies will need De La Rosa to find his form quickly to keep Colorado’s recent trend of strong starting pitching going. Heading into Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh, Colorado starters had compiled a 4.00 ERA in May, much better than the 5.50 ERA they posted in April (ranking them 29th out of MLB’s 30 teams).
Part of the uptick in May has been De La Rosa’s high ERA not being in the rotation. That appears to be changing on Tuesday, which could set off a flurry of moves.
With De La Rosa moving into the rotation, Chris Rusin appears to be falling out of his current starting pitcher role. If that’s the case, he could move into the long relief role and Jordan Lyles could be sent back to Triple-A for more work.
Additionally, it’s been hinted that Jason Motte could be joining the Colorado Rockies to make his 2016 debut against the Red Sox. Weiss has been wanting Motte to recover enough from his shoulder injury suffered in spring training to throw in consecutive games and it appears that Motte has cleared that final hurdle.
If Motte is activated, a spot in the bullpen will need to be opened for him. With that in mind, Justin Miller may be sent to Albuquerque. The right-hander has a 1-1 mark and 5.51 ERA in 15 appearances this season.