Dodgers reinstate De La Rosa, option Guerra
AUG 21, 2012 3:43p ET
The call was unexpected. Less than 13 months removed from a reconstructive elbow operation, De La Rosa was being called back up to the major leagues. He was taking the roster spot of former closer Javy Guerra, who was sent down to triple-A Albuquerque to work on his command.
"I can't believe I'm here," De La Rosa said.
He was thinking he would make his return in September, when teams can have as many as 40 players on their active roster.
Armed with a 100-mph fastball, De La Rosa broke into the major leagues last season at 22 as a starting pitcher. He was 4-5 with a 3.71 earned-run average and struck out 60 batters in 60 2/3 innings.
But he blew out his elbow and was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery in early August. Manager Don Mattingly said the Dodgers' long-term view of De La Rosa is as a starting pitcher. However, the plan is for De La Rosa to be used as a reliever for the remainder of this season.
"We will handle him a little more carefully," Mattingly said.
To prepare for his return to the Dodgers, De La Rosa pitched in four minor league games — one with the rookie league team in Arizona and three with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. He struck out 12 and walked three over 12 scoreless innings. He said his fastball was clocked as high as 99 mph. Can he touch 100 again?
"I can do it right now, but I don't want to," he said. "I'm still a little scared to put in all my gas."
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