The Boston Red Sox got their first Grapefruit League win on Sunday behind solid debuts from Jon Lester, Koji Uehara, and Andrew Miller, as well as a lights-out performance from newcomer Rubby De La Rosa. The right-handed relief pitcher was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers last season in the blockbuster deal that sent former All-Stars Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez out west.
The Red Sox called on De La Rosa in Sunday’s contest with a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth. The 23-year old retired the side in order in both the eighth and ninth innings in collecting the save, and at one point, his fastball reached 100 miles per hour on the radar gun. In his five full seasons since being signed at the age of 18, De La Rosa has averaged better than a strikeout per inning.
According to Red Sox manager John Farrell, De La Rosa has “electric stuff”, and he believes De La Rosa will be a key component of the team’s future. Farrell has, however, indicated that the Dominican native is not likely to break camp with the big league club.
The news doesn’t really come as shock considering the number of solid arms already slated for the Red Sox bullpen, but if De La Rosa continues to pitch like he did on Sunday, the youngster will force Farrell’s hand.
Either way, expect to see De La Rosa pitching with the Red Sox at some point this season.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)