De La Rosa bounces back in 'B' game outing

Southpaw feels good following two scoreless innings vs. D-backs

De La Rosa bounces back in 'B' game outing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa spent the weeks before Spring Training putting himself ahead of the pace in preparation for the 2015 season. That head start has come in handy.

De La Rosa skipped his first two Cactus League starts because of tightness in his left groin. But in Sunday's "B" game against the D-backs, De La Rosa proved his arm was in good shape. He threw two scoreless innings with one hit allowed, and he seems to be on track to pitch the first time through the rotation when the regular season begins.

"I'm not surprised," said De La Rosa, who went 14-10 with a 4.10 ERA in 2014, and is 30-17 with a 3.81 ERA in 62 starts over the last two seasons. "I wasn't pitching for a long time, but I feel good. I've got a lot of time to prepare."

De La Rosa threw strikes on 16 of his 25 pitches, while he struck out two. The only hit was a two-out double in the first by Mark Trumbo. After the outing, De La Rosa threw 16 more bullpen pitches. De La Rosa believes he can go three innings in his next outing, which most likely will be in a Cactus League game, but he said the coaching and training staffs would make that determination.

"I don't want to lie, I got tired when I was finishing my pitches in the bullpen, but that's part of Spring Training," De La Rosa said.

Righty Eddie Butler, the Rockies' No. 2 prospect according to MLB.com, gave up five runs and eight hits in three innings, with one walk and two strikeouts, against the D-backs. Trumbo had a two-run double against him. It was a far cry from his last outing, an effective three innings against the Dodgers in Glendale, Ariz. Butler's best fastball changeup went missing on Sunday.

"I had to throw too many pitches," Butler said. "I got behind in the count a couple of times.

Relievers LaTroy Hawkins, Adam Ottavino and John Axford each threw a scoreless inning. Axford fanned three, Ottavino two and Hawkins one. Minor League reliever Kraig Sitton gave up a three-run homer and struck out two in one inning.

Sunday's "B" game was one to remember for second baseman Mike Benjamin, who has hit a combined .298 in 134 games at Tri-City and Asheville in 2014, while playing second and third base. Benjamin hit a two-run double off D-backs starter Trevor Cahill, and he made a diving catch that turned into a double play to help Butler out of his first inning.

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.