As the Colorado Rockies hit MLB Opening Day with hopes of climbing out of the NL West basement, they’ll be rejoined by a veteran clawing his way back from Tommy John surgery. Veteran starter Jorge De La Rosa pitched at least 120 innings over four consecutive season for the Rockies before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow in May 2011, which sat him out until limited work in September of 2012.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss‘ pitched De La Rosa against 18 batters Wednesday and allowed him to work through bases-loaded situations multiple times en route to a six-strikeout performance. Weiss told the Denver Post that De La Rosa’s use of changeups were key to getting him through jams and working effectively through the spring training start against the Cincinnati Reds.
“We’ve been preaching it to all our pitchers how important that is and it looked like he went out there and really embraced that today, and commanded his changeup and it was a good one … Each time he goes out there, things are going to get a little smoother.”
This long road back has included poor appearances down the stretch last season and heavy training in the off-season but is now finally yielding the fruits of labor. The 31-year old pitcher hopes to regain the stuff that helped him gain a spot in the Rockies’ rotation years ago.
“Changeup, slider were good,” De La Rosa said, via the Associated Press. “Location was much better than before … I’m getting better every time, better and better. First two (outings) were normal for me because I wasn’t pitching for a long time. I made adjustments, last two and this one. It’s working.”