Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rubby De La Rosa could give Dodgers' bullpen a shot in the arm

I was reading Jon Weisman's piece for ESPN LA last night and it got me thinking: the Dodgers are going to have a huge addition late in the season.

The addition? None other than Rubby De La Rosa.

De La Rosa sprained the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on July 31 and ultimately needed Tommy John Surgery.

De La Rosa pitched out of the bullpen in his first three games before securing a spot in the rotation. In 10 starts (55 2/3 innings), he went 3-5 with a 3.88 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and struck out nearly a batter per inning.

But if (when) he returns this season, he'll be coming out of the bullpen. Depending on where the Dodgers are at that point, he could help to secure a playoff berth or getting ready to take the No. 2 spot (as it stands right now) in the 2013 rotation.

If he returns in before Sept. 1, he'll be more than one year removed from ligament replacement surgery and also be eligible for the postseason roster.

Tony Jackson of ESPN LA reported on Feb. 22 De La Rosa is aiming for a rehabilitation assignment after the All-Star break. However, it'd be wise for the Dodgers not to rush him back.

The Dodgers need to make sure he's, without a doubt, 100 percent ready for action. He's far too valuable to risk another injury for a shot at a playoff spot with an imperfect team.

But that filthy fastball-changeup combination coming out of the 'pen would be reminiscent of the Eric Gagne days, minus the performance-enhancing drugs.

Despite losing most of the season due to surgery, De La Rosa still has a chance to contribute in 2012 and prepare himself for 2013. It's the best of an unfortunate situation.

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The Dodgers signed Kyle Smit, presumably today, tweets Baseball America's Matt Eddy. The Cubs released him on March 4. Smit was sent to Chicago with Brett Wallach for Ted Lilly before the 2010 trade deadline. I literally just looked at his Baseball-Reference page yesterday, for some reason.

I missed this 20 days ago: Chad Moriyama released his Top 25 Dodger prospects for 2012. Lots of familiar names. The ranking I'm most pleased to see is Gorman Erickson at No. 10. Here's hoping he can continue to hit and get on base at Chattanooga.

Mike Petriello has no issue with one of the ownership groups inquiring about naming rights for Dodger Stadium. Regardless of what happens, it's still going to be "Dodger Stadium."



Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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