Disappointment For De La Rosa

2010 hasn’t exactly been a banner year for Wilkin De La Rosa.

Added to the New York Yankees 40-man roster prior to the start of the 2009 season, the 25-year-old southpaw put together a solid campaign last year, going 5-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 19 starts between High-A Tampa and Trenton.

This season, however, he’s struggled.  He began the year in the bullpen, one of two odd men out of a packed starting rotation — Lance Pendleton was the other.  After allowing just two runs in his first five outings (11 IP), the Dominican-born lefty’s ERA shot from 1.64 to 7.46 in the span of five weeks.

He was inserted back into the rotation on May 22nd, and posted a 1-0 record and 4.88 ERA in eight starts, but walked more batters (18) than he struck out (17) and was unable to get past the fifth inning in any of them.

Yesterday, it was announced that he’d been yanked out of the starting rotation, jettisoned in favor of Adam Warren, who will make his Double-A debut later tonight.   Thunder manager Tony Franklin, who does not believe that shifting De La Rosa between roles is counterproductive to his development, views this as an opportunity for De La Rosa to salvage a tough year.

“There’s a role that has to be played here, somebody’s got to do it,” Franklin said.

“Would they prefer to be in that one spot all year long?  Probably so.  But the fact of the matter is, is that we’ve got to use somebody.  But I’ve always said, here’s an opportunity to show what you’ve got.  Go and make the best of it.  I don’t see where it’s a detriment, I really don’t.”

De La Rosa was gracious enough to discuss the situation with reporters prior to yesterday’s game, and while he was soft-spoken and seemed disappointed with coming out of the rotation, he also understood it.

“They need a spot to put the new guy, and when they need a spot and you don’t do your job, somebody’s going to pay for it,” De La Rosa said.

“That’s happened to me now.  There’s nothing I can do about it now.  I’m still happy, because they gave me the chance to keep pitching.  I’m going to keep battling and try to come back and do my job.”

De La Rosa, who is 2-3 with a 5.92 ERA on the season in 20 games — eight starts — was scheduled to start Saturday’s game, but will instead resume his role in the bullpen.  In all likelihood, he profiles as a reliever at the Major League level. 

“I think it’s faster to get to the big leagues as a reliever,” he said.

“There’s a lot of things you have to do as a starter to get a job in the big leagues.  I know I can do it, because I did it before.  I’m in a bad moment in my career, but that’s going to happen at some point.”

Pitching coach Tommy Phelps has been working with De La Rosa on fixing his mechanics, which De La Rosa says were a little off.  But only time will tell if the once-promising pitcher will once again look like a future Yankee.  It would seem that clock will start ticking once he makes his first appearance out of the bullpen.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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4 Responses to “Disappointment For De La Rosa”

  1. Jeffrey Says:

    You can understand his disappointment, but it was inevitable – he has been getting hammered. I think that he is lucky to still be in AA and that a demotion to A is still not out of the question.

  2. mbn007 Says:

    He is a completely different pitcher than the one from the last couple of years. i am not sure that I see anything different in his pitching motion, but I suppose there is – the results speak for themselves. Hope he gets back on track. A lefty that throws hard is always valuable in the pen.

  3. richard Says:

    Maybe he can go back to the outfield were he started if pitching doesn’t work out.

  4. rote7123 Says:

    It’s amazing how far Kevin Smith has fallen, from opening day starter, to former Yankee farmhand. The only pitch the guy could hit was a belt high inside fastball. Smith was a walking, talking strikeout this entire season and instead of of playing up to the competition that was Marcos Vechionacci, he fell into this comatose, zombie state. Smith quit long before his official release.

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