De La Rosa again bit by injury bug, hurts groin

Rox starter roughed up, exits after third; Weiss awaits training staff's report

De La Rosa again bit by injury bug, hurts groin

DENVER -- Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa gave up four runs and threw 73 pitches in three innings to grease the skids toward a 9-4 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday night, then left with a left groin injury after running to first base during a third-inning at-bat.

De La Rosa limped while running to the bag, and manager Walt Weiss said during an in-game interview with Root Sports Rocky Mountain that was when the lefty suffered the injury. But after the game, Weiss said he wasn't sure if De La Rosa hadn't been hurt earlier in the game.

"I don't think [the groin] affected him before tonight's game, but I don't know if he did it running to first," said Weiss, who said he will await a report from the team's training staff before commenting on the extent of the injury. "He may have done it before that. He didn't say anything. But after he ran down to first base, that's the first time he mentioned it."

Weiss on De La Rosa' s injury

De La Rosa, who was not available after the game, gave up consecutive homers to Andrew McCutchen and David Freese in the first, and another McCutchen homer in the second to fall behind, 4-0. He was down, 4-1, but had given up five hits and three walks against five strikeouts before leaving.

De La Rosa was scheduled to start Monday night, but was pushed back a day because he was suffering from a stomach flu. Tuesday's performance elevated his ERA to 10.18 through five starts.

Before Tuesday's performance, De La Rosa went just two innings at Cincinnati in his last start -- and ran less-than-soundly on an infield grounder during that start. But whatever the injury and whenever it occurred, something has been wrong all season.

De La Rosa's fastball velocity is down noticeably. He didn't break 91 mph Tuesday, and that's been the case all season. Last year, when he was 9-7 with a 4.17 ERA in 26 starts (an early groin injury and a late Achilles tendon problem cost him some appearances), he averaged 91.4 mph. He averaged 92.3 in 2014, when he went 14-1 with a 4.10 ERA.

"The only difference I see is the fastball is not coming out quite like it was or used to," Weiss said. "The changeup is still a real good pitch and that's why he's got some strikeouts. But the fastball is a tick down. We'll try to get to the bottom of that. But we've got to check him out and make sure he's right physically first."

De La Rosa entered the second year of a two-year, $25 million deal as the most effective pitcher in Coors Field history, with a 48-16 record. But after not giving up three homers in a home game since joining the club in 2008, he's done it twice this year -- Tuesday and April 9 against the Padres.

Righty Christian Bergman replaced De La Rosa and pitched solidly until the last of his 51 pitches -- McCutchen's third homer, a three-run shot with two out in the sixth. Bergman has made one spot-start, when he held the Cubs to two runs on four hits in five innings in an April 16 loss at Wrigley Field, and could be a candidate to fill De La Rosa's slot if the club doesn't make a callup.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.