Aug 24

Why I’m hearing ‘Pedro-Delino’ in ‘Rubby-Adrian’

Adrian Gonzalez is just what the doctor ordered for the Dodgers, but at what cost?

* * *

Rubby De La Rosa has been optioned to the minors, enabling him to be traded as a player to be named later in the offseason.

James Loney was listed in the Dodger starting lineup tonight, then scratched. Adrian Gonzales has been scratched by Boston.

It’s happening. The blockbuster trade has the momentum of a Boston-to-Los Angeles freight train. From Gordon Edes of ESPN.com:

The Dodgers and Red Sox are closing in on a deal that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles, though a few hurdles remain before it’s official, multiple baseball sources said Friday.

Pitcher Rubby De La Rosa will be headed back to Boston as the centerpiece of the deal, sources say. De La Rosa made his first major league appearance of the season Wednesday, having had Tommy John surgery about 13 months ago. Also included are first baseman James Loney and prospects Ivan De Jesus (infielder) and Jerry Sands (outfielder), according to sources, plus another top prospect that is still unknown. …

I understand the impulse to go for it — I want that World Series too — because I know how much Gonzalez might help the Dodgers. But losing De La Rosa is a huge one for me to swallow.

On Twitter, I’ve already gotten some amount of ridicule for daring to mention this trade in the same breath as the infamous Pedro Martinez-Delino DeShields trade from 1993. But I’m guessing most of those people doing so are using the benefit of hindsight.

Today, DeShields is held in contempt  by Dodger fans — he’s the historic equivalent of Juan Uribe or Andruw Jones as far as Dodger trade acquisitions go. But compare the following at the time of the transaction:

DeShields had also improved three consecutive seasons, from 1991-93. Gonzalez has started to decline over the past three consecutive seasons. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that DeShields, at the time of the transaction, was a more valuable player and had a brighter future than Gonzalez today.

As for De La Rosa … I’ll never forget the time I was in the Dodger dugout, interviewing Orel Hershiser before the 2011 season opener, and heard a key member of the Dodger staff compare De La Rosa to Martinez. It was the first time I heard the comparison — though not the last. De La Rosa’s arm is electric.

At the time of the 1993 trade, Martinez had already logged 115 innings of major-league ball (almost entirely in relief) at age 22 with a 2.58 ERA and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings, which puts him ahead compared to De La Rosa, who has just now recovered from Tommy John surgery. But make no mistake — there were concerns about Martinez’s health too, to the point that Dr. Frank Jobe was concerned he would break down. As high as we were on him, we didn’t know Martinez was going to become a legend any more than we know what De La Rosa’s ultimate journey will be. And I can tell you for a fact that plenty were thrilled about DeShields coming to Los Angeles.

The chances of De La Rosa becoming one of the greatest pitchers of all time might be slim, but De La Rosa doesn’t have to become the second Pedro to represent a major loss for the Dodgers. He could just be really good, while Gonzalez apes DeShields’ decline.

Like I said, I’m hungry for a World Series title, and I’m not saying the risk of trading De La Rosa won’t be worth it. Don’t misunderstand me: The Dodgers need a player like Gonzalez, who boosts them at their weakest position. I even believe that a move back to his Southern California roots and away from the Red Sox maelstrom could revitalize him.

All I’m saying is, short of Clayton Kershaw, the trade of any other pitcher besides De La Rosa would have left me more comfortable.

Aug 21

Rubby De La Rosa is back

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Shane Victorino, LF
Adam Kennedy, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
James Loney, 1B
Luis Cruz, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Joe Blanton, P

Faster than a speeding Rubby De La Rosa fastball, the Dodgers have activated Rubby De La Rosa from the disabled list, 12 1/2 months after his Tommy John surgery. Javy Guerra will go to Albuquerque until rosters expand in September.

De La Rosa’s progress was evident, as we noted earlier Sunday, and the Dodgers’ main decision — once they became confident in his health — seemed to rest upon whether they wanted him to build up higher pitch counts in the minors or come help in the majors right away. It does seem fast, but it’s an exciting move.

Guerra is actually on a streak of 11 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts, so he wasn’t exactly crying out to be optioned. He allowed 12 baserunners in that time and two out of five inherited runners to score. But it shows how highly the Dodgers think of Shawn Tolleson, who is unscored upon in his past 9 1/3 innings with two hits, five walks and five strikeouts. Tolleson has also allowed two of five inherited runners to score in that period.

And no, you don’t cut a Brandon League nor a Jamey Wright with 10 days until the rosters expand. On the other hand, the Dodgers could have found a way to go with a three-man bench …

Aug 19

Dodgers activate Elbert, De La Rosa making progress

Dodgers at Braves, 10:35 a.m.
Shane Victorino, LF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Matt Kemp, CF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Andre Ethier, RF
Juan Rivera, 1B
Luis Cruz, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Chad Billingsley, P

In the end, it might just be a confidence booster for 2013, but for the first time, I get the feeling the Dodgers are thinking about trying to get some starts out of Rubby De La Rosa in September.

While it’s still a ways from taking a major-league mound in September, De La Rosa pitched a season-high four innings Saturday for Rancho Cucamonga, allowing no runs on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts.

In four minor-league outings since his comeback from Tommy John surgery began, De La Rosa has thrown 12 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts, allowing five hits and three walks. At a minimum, De La Rosa might soon to be primed to help the bullpen in September.

Last year in the majors, De La Rosa had a 3.88 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings as a starter, while allowing a run in five innings with five strikeouts as a reliever.

* * *

In shorter-term relief news, Scott Elbert – who struck out all six batters he faced in his two minor-league rehab outings – was activated from the disabled list in the next day or so. The Dodgers sent Elian Herrera, who was 1 for 3 while mostly idling on the bench behind Hanley Ramirez and Luis Cruz since his recall, to the minors. Herrera would have played even less had Matt Kemp not been ejected Thursday.

That move lengthens the Dodger bullpen and shrinks the bench (at least for now), and kept the team from having to choose between sending Javy Guerra or Shawn Tolleson to the minors. Each was wild last night, each has allowed two inherited runners to score this month, but neither has been scored upon since late July.

For my part, I think Ronald Belisario would benefit from a two-week “elbow soreness” vacation. Matt Guerrier also pitched a shutout inning in the Rancho Cucamonga game, by the way.

* * *

We were trying to figure out how unusual Saturday’s no-singles game was, and Diane Firstman of Value Over Replacement Grit came up with the answer – and it’s a doozy.

The Dodgers and Braves combined for nine hits without any singles. The previous major-league record was four.

It was the sixth game in MLB history with no singles, including the Sandy Koufax perfect game against Bob Hendley’s one-hitter in 1965.

The biggest play of Saturday’s game was A.J. Ellis catching a foul tip, writes Ron Cervenka of Think Blue L.A.

Aug 17

While on Matt Kemp Suspension Watch …

However justified his anger might have been, Matt Kemp sowed the seeds of his own suspension by making physical contact with umpires, writes Chad Moriyama at his blog. So as we wait for that unpleasant news to wend its way, here are some other happenings around town:

  • Don Newcombe, who is being honored at the annual Civil Rights Game on Saturday (between the Dodgers and Braves), is the subject of a nice piece by Spencer Fordin of MLB.com.
  • Good gravy — Brett Tomko is still out there plying his trade. Arizona signed the 39-year-old to a minor-league deal, reports Matt Eddy of Baseball America.
  • Will Rubby De La Rosa be in the same innings quandry next year as Stephen Strasburg is this year? Evan Bladh of Opinion of Kingman’s Performance is curious.
  • Former Dodger prospect Ethan Martin was interviewed at length by Jay Floyd of Phillies Nation.
  • “Major League Baseball owners have agreed to test two different advanced replay systems live during games starting next week, and if they prove accurate they could precede an overhaul of the system for the 2013 season,” reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
  • Sandy Koufax biographer Jane Leavy has a piece at Grantland on neuropathologist Ann McKee, who is doing extensive research on head trauma that could have an impact on the NFL.
  • Some fun history of Los Angeles roadways prior to the Arroyo Seco Parkway comes via Kevin Roderick of L.A. Observed.
Jul 29

Sands’ slams top a great day on the farm

The Dodgers’ happy Sunday extended down to the minor leagues, where Jerry Sands hit two grand slams in the first four innings for Albuquerque in the second game of a doubleheader.

In addition, Ted Lilly and Rubby De La Rosa each had successful rehabilitation outings, taking steps toward rejoining the active roster sometime in August. The pair combined for five shutout innings with four strikeouts.

Jul 29

Rubby De La Rosa to join Lilly in rehab assignment

Dodgers at Giants, 1:05 p.m.
Kershaw CXXXVIII: Kershamen Corner
Mark Ellis, 2B
Juan Rivera, LF
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Hanley Ramirez, 3B
James Loney, 1B
Luis Cruz, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

Just shy of the anniversary of his August 9 Tommy John surgery, Dodger righty Rubby De La Rosa is scheduled to pitch his first rehabilitation outing today for Class A Rancho Cucamonga – along with lefty Ted Lilly, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

De La Rosa would be a candidate to pitch out of the bulllpen sometime in the season’s final two months, before re-emerging as a starting rotation candidate in 2013. The 23-year-old last appeared in a game July 31.

Elsewhere …

  • Nathan Eovaldi is undefeated as a Miami Marlin after allowing one run in 5 1/3 innings to the Padres on Saturday. From Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:

    … “His stuff was electric,” said catcher John Buck, who was behind the plate. “His fastball jumped out of his hand. His location was good, not afraid to throw in on either side of the plate. He threw a cutter pretty good [Saturday], and this was only his second game throwing it. What I saw today was pretty nasty.”

    Buck said that in his nine years of catching he’s encountered only one other pitcher who, when going over the scouting reports for opposing hitters, seemed to know exactly what he was doing.

    “That was Zack Greinke,” Buck said. “For a young guy, that’s a big step.” …

  • Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven has a couple of fun posts, including a link to Tommy Lasorda telling Jeremy Rosenberg of KCET about his move to Los Angeles and another featuring an interview with oldest living Dodger Mike Sandlock.
  • From the Dodger press notes: “The Dodgers would like to extend their condolences to the family of former Brooklyn Dodger and Pittsburgh Pirate Ed Stevens, who passed away at the age of 87 last Sunday in Houston, TX. Stevens hit 10 home runs and collected 60 RBI in 1946 and came to camp in 1947 expecting to be the Dodgers’ starting first baseman. However, Branch Rickey had other ideas, promoting second baseman Jackie Robinson to play first and sending Stevens to Triple-A Montreal where he hit 27 homers and drove in 108 runs in his final year with the Dodger organization.”
  • The injury bug might have finally reached Rafael Furcal in St. Louis. Furcal, who was on pace to play in 154 games this season, has back discomfort, reports Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • In the wake of the Seattle Mariners trading Ichiro to the New York Yankees, Larry Granillo offers historical details at Baseball Prospectus of the San Francisco Giants sending WIllie Mays to the New York Mets.
Jun 23

Dodger Defcon ratings

Starting today, I’m making periodic contributions to the CityThink blog at Los Angeles Magazine. My first piece looks at the state of the Dodgers from a War Games perspective. Check it out …

Good teams have bad weeks, and one bad week like the Dodgers are having (with four losses in a row, including Friday’s 8-5 come-from-ahead defeat against the Angels) doesn’t ruin a season. At the same time, people have feared all along that the Dodgers are a team living on the brink of destruction in a dangerous baseball world.

In the spirit of War Games, here’s a snapshot of which Dodger problems are tic-tac-toe and which are global thermonuclear war …

Read the rest at CityThink …

Feb 23

Braun news threatens to overshadow Sands’ Carlos Perez story

Ryan Braun won the appeal of his drug suspension. I’ll let the reaction of Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra stand in for mine.

In almost all cases, the people who say that someone “got off on a technicality” or took advantage of a “loophole” really mean “I think the SOB was guilty and because of that I don’t care if the proper safeguards and protocols were followed!”  It’s a ridiculous stance.

Ridiculous because procedures such as chain of custody and the proper handling of samples — which were not followed in Braun’s case — exist for a reason. That reason is not, contrary to popular grunting, to make it harder for decent prosecutors or authorities to do their jobs. It’s to ensure the integrity of the system. And, in this case, the integrity of the sample. Every detail that is not adhered to presents another opportunity for a sample to be tainted, lost or otherwise compromised. When that happens the test itself is, by definition, unreliable and any reference to what it may or may not have shown is utterly beside the point. …

There’s more in Calcaterra’s post, one I urge you to read in its entirety. Between this chain-of-custody failure and the missing staple that was key to the McCourt divorce case, baseball appears to be ripping off Law and Order plot devices.

I’d like to think this will end the talk that there should be a re-vote of the National League Most Valuable Player award, but perhaps that’s still too optimistic.

* * *

Jerry Sands provided a lot of good copy for Dodger beat writers today, as these stories from Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A and Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com show.

The bulk of it consisted of fun anecdotes about Sands working as a substitute teacher over the winter, but my favorite part was this, from Stephen:

… Sands got married on November 19, then spent a month in the Dominican Republic, hitting .250/.325/.375 in 20 games with the Tigres de Licey in winter league ball, where he was teammates with 40-year old former Dodgers pitcher and water cooler destroyer Carlos Perez.

Sands said Perez was in something like his 20th year in the Dominican Winter League, and joked that management said of the pitcher, “We keep telling him not to come back, but every year he keeps showing up in the clubhouse.” …

* * *

The Dodgers had a few roster moves today.

They claimed 26-year-old outfielder Matt Angle off waivers from Baltimore. Angle had a .599 OPS in 95 plate appearances for the Orioles in 2011 and a .692 OPS in Triple-A, his skills mainly being incredible basestealing ability (38 for 42 at the two levels combined) and defense. Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness has more on Angle, who is on the 40-man roster but will begin the season in the minors.

Rubby De La Rosa was placed on the 60-day disabled list to make room for Angle.

Also, righty reliever Jose Ascanio failed his physical and won’t participate in Spring Training for the Dodgers. has left Dodger camp after failing his physical on Tuesday. From the Dodger Thoughts 2012 Spring Training Primer:

The 26-year-old allowed five runs on 12 baserunners in 6 1/3 innings for Pittsburgh last year and has a career 5.28 ERA in 46 MLB innings. However, he did strike out 50 in 44 innings for Triple-A Indianapolis in his first significant action since recovering from late-2009 shoulder surgery. So he sounds qualified for an Albuquerque stint.

* * *

  • Arizona offered Hiroki Kuroda $13 million for 2012, $3 million more than the contract he signed with the Yankees, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven posted a bevy of vintage Dodger photos available at Legendary Auctions.
  • EAS Sports Nutrition has a contest that will provide the winner and a friend airfare to Phoenix, hotel, rental car and tickets for two Spring Training games over the March 16-18 weekend.
Feb 22

Early morning linking song


Good morning, starshiners …

  • Rubby De La Rosa, as we learned from our talk with De Jon Watson earlier this month, is feeling good. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has more.
  • Video of a five-inning perfect game Clayton Kershaw threw in high school — with 15 strikeouts, while also hitting a home run — has been passed along by Ernest Reyes of Blue Heaven.
  • The only coverage that you need to read of Ronald Belisario’s admission that he used cocaine is at Hardball Talk, namely the exchange between Craig Calcaterra and Aaron Gleeman.
  • Left-handed reliever Brent Leach, 29, has returned to the Dodger organization, tweets Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus. Leach, who pitched 20 1/3 innings for the 2009 Dodgers, had a 5.95 ERA with a 1.729 WHIP and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings in eight starts for Yokohama in the Japan Central League last year.
  • Goldstein adds that the Dodgers also signed 25-year-old righty Jared Lansford, a 2005 second-round draft choice by the A’s whose father is former major-leaguer Carney Lansford. Jared had a 4.54 ERA with 5.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 48 Double-A relief appearances last year.
  • Statement from the team today: “”The Los Angeles Dodgers are pleased that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court has approved its revised Disclosure Statement, which keeps the Dodgers on track to emerge from Bankruptcy  as planned on April 30. Bidders have shown tremendous interest in the opportunity to purchase the Dodgers and related assets, and the Dodgers look forward to a very successful conclusion to their bankruptcy case.”
  • Finally, “The Don Zimmer ‘Zim Bear’ Will Haunt Your Kids’ Dreams” (via Hardball Talk)

Jan 09

De La Rosa progressing nicely in recovery

While I was parked at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, many of my online colleagues were out at Dodger Stadium for media day at the Dodgers’ Winter Development Camp. Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles was one. Some excerpts:

… Instead of making a splash now, the Dodgers will likely do what they have done the last few seasons. Try to stay competitive in the first few months of the season in order to convince ownership to expand the payroll at the trading deadline.

“I think we’re in a decent spot right now to be competitive and to make more decisions in July,” (Ned) Colletti said. “There’s rarely a postseason team that doesn’t change along the road.” …

… Elsewhere, (Don) Mattingly said that RHP Rubby De La Rosa has looked good in limited action after undergoing Tommy John surgery this summer. The Dodgers hope he can return to throwing bullpen sessions sometime in March and pitching in games by the end of July.

“I feel good. It feels strong,” De La Rosa said. “It feels like six months have passed since the operation and it’s only been three.”

But wait, there’s more …

  • Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy has video of Tommy Lasorda during batting practice telling prospect Matt Wallach to “pull the goddamned ball.”
  • Baly adds a bunch of photos in this post.
  • Brandon Lennox of True Blue L.A. has a long list of notes from the camp.
  • Dylan Hernandez of the Times leads his notebook with a Dee Gordon update, while also noting that if and when De La Rosa pitches for the Dodgers this season, it will probably be in relief, before he returns to starting in 2013.
  • Ken Gurnick of MLB.com has a full recap. Here’s a portion:

    … Also rehabbing is infielder Justin Sellers, who suffered a serious groin pull while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic. Sellers said he’s still not 100 percent, but he was turning double plays with expected starting shortstop Dee Gordon on Monday.

    Working in the infield was Alex Castellanos, a natural power-hitting outfielder acquired from the Cardinals in the Rafael Furcal trade. Castellanos is still primarily an outfielder, but the Dodgers are trying him at second base, which they had to fill with the signing of free agent Mark Ellis because they weren’t willing to turn the position over to Sellers or Ivan DeJesus Jr.

    Also at the camp is catcher Tim Federowicz, who was a September callup, but Colletti said he’s likely to open the season in the Minor Leagues as the Dodgers plan to start the season with A.J. Ellis starting and Matt Treanor backing up. Federowicz was the key player acquired in the Trayvon Robinson trade.

    Colletti said he met in the Dominican with third baseman Juan Uribe. Colletti said Uribe knows he underperformed last year and understands the expectations for this year. Utilityman Jerry Hairston might share time at the position. Hairston also could see time in the outfield, especially when the Dodgers face left-handed pitching. When that happens, James Loney might be replaced at first base by left fielder Juan Rivera and Andre Ethier might give way to Jerry Sands. Mattingly said he wouldn’t call it a platoon, but one of the winter priorities was to add right-handed bats to give him more options against left-handed pitching. …

Dec 17

Saturday, out of the park

Catching up today on some news new and old. Many of these items were tweeted by me over the past several days – don’t hesitate to follow.

  • Bill Shaikin of the Times explains why Frank McCourt won’t renege on selling the Dodgers.
  • Here’s a great piece by Chad Moriyama on the lazy comparisons baseball folk have been making between potential big-leaguer Yu Darvish and other pitchers from Asia.
  • Roughly 40 percent of the 2012 Dodger roster will be at least 33 years old next year, writes Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness.
  • Vance Lovelace and Rick Ragazzo will have greater influence in the Dodger front office, reports Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

    … Lovelace, previously a special assistant to the GM and director of player scouting, is now director of professional personnel. Ragazzo, previously a special assistant to the GM, is now director of pro scouting. …

    … Logan White remains assistant GM in charge for amateur (Draft) and international scouting and DeJon Watson remains assistant GM for player development (Minor Leagues). Tony Howell and Ken Bracey remain as special assistants to Colletti. …

  • More than five years ago, I wrote about the legal action over payment of former Dodger Paul Shuey’s 2004 salary. Amazingly, as Shaikin notes at the Times, the battle is still going on.
  • Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Don Drysdale, Orel Hershiser, Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Ron Cey, Mike Scioscia, Tommy Lasorda, Walter Alston and Fernando Valenzuela will all be featured in one way or another among the Dodgers’ 2012 bobbleheads.
  • Rubby De La Rosa’s injury was costly to the Dodgers in more ways than one, notes Mike Newman of Fangraphs.
  • Edwin Jackson is a better sign than C.J. Wilson, writes Joe Sheehan at SI.com.
  • Dodger hitting guru Dave Hansen is holding a baseball camp for kids ages 7-15 beginning December 19, according to Roberto Baly at Vin Scully Is My Homeboy.
  • From Steve Dilbeck at the Times’ Dodgers Blog: “INK BLUE.”
  • Change in the National League West: San Diego traded Mat Latos to Cincinnati for Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger, while Colorado signed Michael Cuddyer for three years and $30 million. John Sickels has more on the Padres’ pickups at Minor League Ball, and there’s more reaction compiled at MLB Trade Rumors.
  • The Arizona Diamondbacks are going to recoup millions through a buyback of stadium construction bonds, reports Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal.
  • Kirk Gibson: The NL’s most untraditional manager? Maybe so, says Jacob Peterson of Beyond the Boxscore.
  • USC grad Jason Lane, 35 this month, is returning to his pitching roots to try to keep his baseball career alive.
  • Dwight Evans was one of my favorite non-Dodgers of my younger years. Here’s a nice piece on him by David Laurila at Fangraphs.
  • Harrison Ford has been cast as Branch Rickey and newcomer Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson in the film “42,” reports Justin Kroll of Variety.
  • “Moneyball” received four Golden Globe nominations from the decidedly unsporty Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the latest sign of appreciation for the film from a non-baseball audience.
  • A post at Variety’s On the Air blog by me extolls the virtues of “Bosom Buddies.”
Oct 15

Remembering 2011: Rubby De La Rosa


Julie Jacobson/APRubby De La Rosa (20)

The setup: De La Rosa was the Dodgers’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010, but more than half of that season was spent with Single-A Great Lakes. At Double-A Chattanooga, he had a 1.41 ERA in eight starts covering 51 innings, but with a modest strikeout ratio of 6.9 per nine innings. He became the team’s most exciting pitching prospect almost overnight, but there were questions about his lack of experience. At the end of Spring Training, De La Rosa made his Dodger Stadium debut with 5 2/3 innings of two-hit, no-walk shutout ball and six strikeouts (including Ichiro twice). Appetites whetted.

The closeup: De La Rosa looked strong back in the Chatt room, with a 2.92 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 40 innings (51 baserunners allowed). In May, the Dodgers showed their willingness to start promoting key prospects from within by calling up Jerry Sands. De La Rosa came next, with the Dodgers giving up on Lance Cormier. De La Rosa began his major-league career in relief by striking out two in a perfect inning that helped preserve a 5-4 Dodger victory in Houston (in which Sands hit a grand slam and Javy Guerra got his first save). After two more bullpen outings, Jon Garland went on the disabled list, and De La Rosa was pushed into the starting rotation, making his first start at 22 years and three months. In that game, De La Rosa walked five in the first two innings, yet managed to last five innings in all, allowing one run and earning the 6-2 victory.

De La Rosa battled his control throughout his run as a starting pitcher, walking 30 in 55 2/3 innings, but he also showed dazzling stuff at times (striking out 55). In a three-start stretch, he allowed one run in seven innings at Minnesota, took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Mets on Independence Day and pitched one-hit, eight-strikeout ball at San Diego on July 9. All in all, it was pretty joyous.

In a Dodger season filled with injuries, none was more depressing than what happened to De La Rosa – a partial ligament tear in his right elbow that sidelined him after a laborious four innings against Arizona and put him under the knife for Tommy John surgery in August. He finished his rookie year with a 3.71 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings. In his entire professional career, including the minors, De La Rosa has still thrown only 280 2/3 innings.

Coming attractions: For those who think the comparison is worthwhile, Washington’s Stephen Strasburg, who also had Tommy John surgery to repair a UCL tear, went 12 1/2 months between major-league starts. That would seem to open the door for an August return for De La Rosa, though I just have trouble believing that De La Rosa would match Strasburg’s timetable. So maybe September, at a point when the Dodgers would either be playing out the string or getting a timely Rubby injection for a postseason run. Or maybe not at all in 2012. In any case, by 2013, De La Rosa might be part of a Dodger rotation that also includes Zach Lee. We can hardly wait.

Aug 02

Rubby Bluesday


Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireRubby De La Rosa struck out 60 in 60 2/3 innings in his rookie season.

The statement from the Dodgers:

Dodger right-hander Rubby De la Rosa underwent an MRI on Monday that showed a partial tear of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL). After consultation with Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. James Andrews, it was decided that reconstruction (Tommy John) surgery should be performed. The date and location of the surgery is yet to be determined.

The recovery time of approximately one year, give or take, puts De La Rosa out of the Dodgers plans in any meaningful way until 2013.

Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has more.

* * *

In case you missed it, there was more sad and stunning news in the Bryan Stow case Monday. From Andrew Blankstein of the Times:

A key witness in the beating case of Giants fan Bryan Stow at Dodger Stadium may have died of a peanut allergy, though officials have not determined a positive cause of death.

Matthew Lee attended the Dodgers’ home opener on March 31 with Stow and was cited in court papers filed Monday involving the two suspects charged in the beating.
According to law enforcement sources familiar with the case, Lee died Sunday after eating a salad that apparently contained nuts, which caused an allergic reaction. The sources said Lee had a peanut allergy.

It’s unclear how this will affect the case against Stow’s alleged attackers, but the sources said Lee was an important witness.

However, officials have said they have physical evidence in addition to the evidence provided by eyewitnesses to the beating.

Los Angeles police detectives said Monday they were trying to find additional Giants fans from the Bay Area who were assaulted by the suspects. …

Aug 01

Spoiler alert: Surgery looms as possibility for De La Rosa

Clayton Kershaw only starts about 20 percent of the Dodgers’ games, so you hate to see them spoiled.

But on a night that Kershaw pitched his fourth complete game of the season and Matt Kemp had a double and triple in a 6-2 victory over San Diego, the Dodgers took what I would consider to be their worst blow of the season, non-ownership division, as well as their first big blow of 2012.

Rubby De La Rosa, the prized rookie who figured to be a significant cog of the 2012 Dodger starting rotation, has a sprained ligament in his right elbow and will miss considerable time, with surgery a distinct possibility. Here’s Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com:

… De La Rosa faces the possibility of season-ending elbow surgery after an MRI exam on Monday revealed a sprained ulnar-collateral ligament. A team spokesman said De La Rosa and the medical staff presently are considering a handful of treatment options, one of which would be surgery.

Even if De La Rosa were to decide against surgery, he could be done for the year. The Dodgers have only 54 games remaining, and De La Rosa’s innings were being closely monitored anyway because he is considered such an important part of the franchise’s future. Between the minors and majors, he has pitched 100 2/3 so far this season. …

Dodgers medical-services director Stan Conte said De La Rosa reported tightness in his elbow immediately after leaving the game, but that he initially had felt it while throwing a pitch in the third inning. De La Rosa saw team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who recommended he undergo an MRI exam.

Conte said the decision to put De La Rosa on the DL so quickly came because he likely would have missed his next start anyway. Mattingly said Ely initially will pitch out of the bullpen and that with an off-day on Thursday and De La Rosa’s rotation spot not due to come up again until Saturday night at Arizona, the Dodgers might simply skip that spot. That would mean they wouldn’t need a fifth starter again until Aug. 9 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Aside from losing the treat of seeing De La Rosa pitch, what this may well mean is that more of the money that is needed to rebuild the Dodger offense in the offseason might now have to be reallocated to pitching.

* * *

Alex Castellanos went 0 for 4 with a walk in his debut in the Dodger organization, in a 6-4 Chattanooga victory. Juan Rodriguez pitched two shutout innings for Great Lakes in a 9-2 win.

Aug 01

Make it stop: Rubby heads to disabled list

Have Dodger fans not suffered enough?

Something was rubbing Rubby De La Rosa the wrong way Sunday. A day after spending 103 pitches over four innings, De La Rosa was placed on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation by the Dodgers, who recalled John Ely from Triple-A Albuquerque.

The abruptness of the roster move indicates that the Dodgers were under no illusion that De La Rosa was in position to pitch again anytime soon — plus, they have every reason to be cautious with him. Best-case scenario is this is just a well-timed rest for a pitcher who needs to be protected. I wonder if De La Rosa was ailing before Sunday’s start and kept it to himself.

That puts Kenley Jansen and De La Rosa on the disabled list in the past four days. Clayton, do be careful out there.