Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa threw a bullpen session Monday before the Colorado Rockies' 2-1 loss at San Francisco. It was the Rockies' third straight loss, all by one run, on their current trip and their 11th loss in the last 14 games.
The Rockies are 30 games below .500 and 25 1/2 games out of first place, both season-worst figures. For the first time this year, De La Rosa will have the chance to help the Rockies reverse their fortunes when he starts Thursday afternoon against the Giants, who will start left-hander Barry Zito. The return of De La Rosa to the rotation will affect both left-hander Drew Pomeranz and Alex White.
Pomeranz, who had been scheduled to start Thursday, will be pushed back to Friday and start at Coors Field against the Diamondbacks on five days' rest. White will move to the bullpen. Sunday, he failed to pitch five innings for the ninth straight start.
De La Rosa last pitched for the Rockies on May 24, 2011. He left his start that day in the third inning at Coors Field against the Diamondbacks, his season over with a record of 5-2 and a 3.51 ERA. On June 3, De La Rosa underwent Tommy John surgery.
His rehab assignments this season were halted twice, first by left forearm tightness and then by fluid on his left elbow. De La Rosa was able to begin a third rehab assignment Sept. 5 and make three starts, the final two for high Class A Modesto in the playoffs. On Saturday, he allowed six hits, one walk and three runs in five innings with six strikeouts while throwing 71 pitches.
And after that outing and getting medical clearance and throwing a successful bullpen session Monday, De La Rosa, at long last, is ready to pitch for the Rockies.
"It's really exciting to be back in the game," De La Rosa said. "But at the same time I have to be calm, don't get too excited on the mound. That will be real hard for me, but I will try to stay calm and make my pitches."