De La Rosa to get stem cell injection

Right-hander hoping to avoid a second Tommy John surgery

De La Rosa to get stem cell injection

WASHINGTON -- D-backs right-hander Rubby De La Rosa will receive a stem cell injection Tuesday as he continues to try and find a way to avoid having a second Tommy John surgery.

De La Rosa's right elbow has given him problems since late-May and after having a plasma-rich injection and missing more than three months it flared up again following a pair of appearances.

De La Rosa visited with noted orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, who performed his Tommy John surgery, and it was determined that they would try a stem cell treatment rather than a second surgery.

"According to Dr. Andrews, he just doesn't see enough from the MRI in his exam to be confirmed that he needs to reconstruct the ligament," D-backs head athletic trainer Ken Crenshaw said. "Another option that people use is stem-cell, which is basically taking some of your bone marrow out, spinning it down and injecting it in. It's a little more complicated procedure than a [plasma-rich] injection, that's one of the options he presented to Rubby and that's the one he wants to go with. Given the first UCL reconstruction is 75-80 percent, the second one is about 40 percent, I think Dr. Andrews' feelings were let's just save our biggest bullet for last."

If the procedure is successful, De La Rosa should be able to do some throwing this offseason as part of his normal winter preparations.

However, whether or not De La Rosa can pitch next year likely will not be known until Spring Training begins.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.