SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Since 2008, just one pitcher in the Majors has a home winning percentage better than Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa's .763. The Dodgers' Zack Greinke has a .782 home winning percentage, but that was achieved in three different homes -- none of them Coors Field, the park most people avoid when given a chance.
As the Rockies prepare for Saturday's opening of Spring Training for pitchers and catchers, De La Rosa shed light on his method for conquering hitter-friendly altitude and a park with expansive gaps that give hitters room to rack up hits despite soft contact. The key, De La Rosa said, is simply not thinking too big.
"I don't set goals; I used to do that, but it didn't work for me," said De La Rosa, who struggled for the Brewers and Royals, and did time in the Diamondbacks' and Red Sox's systems, as well as in Mexico before finding uncommon success with the Rockies.
"When I thought ahead, I just put too much pressure on myself. I figured that out about eight years ago [which happens to coincide with the trade with the Royals that brought him to Denver]. If I just look at the next game, and study what I need to do to help the team win that, I'm much better off. I know it sounds simple, but it works for me."
It's worked so well that De La Rosa had the chance to leave and didn't consider it. He signed a two-year, $25 million contract in September, without testing free agency. De La Rosa went 14-11 with a 4.10 ERA last season -- 10-2, 3.08 at home -- and was a bright spot for a rotation that had the National League's worst ERA and a team that went 66-96.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.