The Rockies suffered a major loss Tuesday when left-hander Jorge De La Rosa was diagnosed with a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery, and recovery time from such a reconstructive elbow operation is at least a year.
De La Rosa started the first game of a day-night doubleheader against the Diamondbacks, which turned into a 12-4 romp for the Rockies. They ended up with a split, losing the second game 5-2. After pitching 2 1/3 innings, De La Rosa, with runners at second and third, threw a 1-0 pitch that Chris Young fouled. It was De La Rosa's 52nd pitch of the game, and he motioned to the dugout for trainer Keith Dugger and manager Jim Tracy. De La Rosa threw a warmup pitch, winced and left the game.
De La Rosa, who missed 13 starts last year when he tore the pulley tendon on the middle finger of his left hand, was a candidate for the NL All-Star team this year with a 5-2 record and 3.51 ERA.
He went 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA in five April starts and at the outset of the month was dealing with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. De La Rosa threw his first complete game May 18 at Philadelphia, holding the Phillies to five hits and two runs, one earned, in a 2-1 loss.
De La Rosa is the only left-hander in the Rockies' rotation. Greg Reynolds relieved De La Rosa, pitched 3 2/3 innings and was the winning pitcher. Reynolds had been recalled Sunday from Triple-A Colorado Springs and after Tuesday's doubleheader was not going to pitch out of the bullpen as he prepares for a spot start Saturday against the Cardinals. It was Tuesday's doubleheader that created the need for a spot starter.
Reynolds could remain in the rotation until the return of right-hander Aaron Cook. He made his third and final rehab start Monday for Double-A Tulsa and is scheduled to make one rehab start for Colorado Springs on Saturday. Cook, who is on the 60-day disabled list, would be on course to make his 2011 debut for the Rockies in their June 3-5 series at San Francisco.
Regardless, the loss of De La Rosa is a huge blow to the Rockies. He had the good fortune to sign a two-year, $21.5 million contract in the offseason, a deal that includes a player option for $11 million in 2013 and will assure De La Rosa of a guaranteed large salary that year, regardless of how much and how well he pitches in 2012.
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