In the Rockpile: De La Rosa returns after 16 months on DL

Jorge De La Rosa made an unpleasant return to the Rockies’ rotation on Thursday. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Coming back from tearing his elbow up last May, Rockies ace Jorge De La Rosa made his 2012 debut at home Thursday night against Barry Zito and the NL West leading San Francisco Giants, and it did not go well. Following in the footsteps of Jeremy Guthrie, Jamie Moyer and the rest of the starting rotation, De La Rosa gave up six runs on seven hits (five earned) in less than four innings of work. Disappointed in his performance, De La Rosa knows he has some ground to cover to get back to his level of play where he was hurling dangerous back foot sliders and leading the rotation last season before he blew out his elbow in a May 24 game.

De La Rosa suffered a setback in his rehab a couple months back, but he is going to be a pivotal player next season whether he is pitching or is injured again. The Rockies sorely needed his veteran experience after offseason acquisitions blew up on the mound and returning veterans like Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio suffered from injuries and poor outings. The club should’ve left him out of this season as the Rockies have been playing garbage-time baseball now for a couple months, well out of the wild card hunt for quite some time. But to each his own.

De La Rosa took Alex White’s spot as White was sent down to make room for the returning JDR on the roster. Unfortunately, his return produced nothing positive as he was dusted up by a Pablo Sandoval bomb in the first, and it didn’t get much better after that. JDR will receive the rest of White’s starts while the Rockies play out the remaining games and look forward to the end of the season. De La Rosa needs to be ready for 2013, a season that will surely hinge on his ability to perform, and last, with the Rockies not planning on acquiring better arms in the offseason … surprise surprise.

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