De La Rosa leading rotation race for D-backs

Club thins camp roster as competitions heat up

De La Rosa leading rotation race for D-backs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The D-backs trimmed their roster by seven Sunday, reassigning non-roster players Jake Barrett, Danny Dorn, Nick Evans, Peter O'Brien, J.C. Ramirez, Jamie Romak and Danny Worth to Minor League camp. None of the roster moves was a surprise, which means there are still some much-contested battles to be decided, not the least of which is the starting rotation.

Opening Day starter Josh Collmenter and Jeremy Hellickson are the only two locks for the rotation, though manager Chip Hale made it sound like Rubby De La Rosa was just about a sure thing.

"De La Rosa, for me, is very close," Hale said. "De La Rosa has a chance to be a frontline starter. It's our job now to finish him off. His changeup is a wipeout pitch, I mean it's a swing-and-miss pitch, but he has used his breaking ball more this spring, which we're happy about. He's been up to 98 mph consistently in some games."

The issue with De La Rosa has been his command -- he's allowed 10 walks in 12 innings this spring -- which Hale admitted, "has not been great."

The 26-year-old right-hander has had success in the Minors, so all that's left for him is to show he can do it in the Major Leagues.

"I think his stuff is Major League worthy, and he's done everything he can in the Minor Leagues to prepare himself for that," Hale said. "So I think there's a good shot he will break with us."

If De La Rosa is part of the rotation, that would leave two spots, with Trevor Cahill, Chase Anderson and Daniel Hudson as the leading candidates. The D-backs have not decided whether Hudson will make the team as a starter or reliever.

Hudson fans Belt

Speaking of the bullpen, Hale said Addison Reed, Brad Ziegler, Evan Marshall and Oliver Perez were locks, and that if Randall Delgado does not make the rotation, he would be one, too. That would leave two spots open, unless Hudson is shifted to the bullpen.

Right-hander A.J. Schugel has pitched his way into the discussion for a bullpen role, as has lefty Andrew Chafin, and fellow southpaw Matt Reynolds would also appear to be in the discussion.

Good luck trying to figure out the position-player puzzle yet. Much of it hinges on what the team decides to do with Yasmany Tomas. He could open the year at third base or left field, or he could find himself at Triple-A Reno.

Hale has even said there's a scenario in which Tomas could be kept on the roster along with third baseman Jake Lamb, with Tomas getting some time at third and some in the outfield.

One name to keep an eye on is Jordan Pacheco. He could nab the final spot on the roster because of his ability to play second base, third base, first base and outfield as well as serve as a third catcher.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.