DENVER -- The left forearm tightness that Rockies pitcher Jorge De La Rosa has experienced while working his way back from elbow surgery has led the team to halt his rehab assignment, the team announced Saturday.
Technically, the Rockies recalled De La Rosa from his 30-day rehab assignment, which would have expired on May 27 and would have had him targeted to start in the Manors against the Dodgers on June 2. De La Rosa is frozen for seven days, then can be placed on the DL for forearm tightness and begin a new 30-day window.
De La Rosa was 5-2 with a 3.51 ERA when he underwent Tommy John surgery a year ago. In an odd pattern, De La Rosa experienced no tightness when he began throwing during extended spring training at the team's complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., and was fine during two rehab starts at Class A Modesto. But De La Rosa's first start at Double-A Tulsa on May 12 limited him to one inning. He threw four innings Thursday and experienced tightness at the end.
A frustrated De La Rosa angrily threw his T-shirt at the end of a workout Saturday at Coors Field, but calmed down and said he understood.
"It's very disappointing," said De La Rosa, who would have started at Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday. "I pitched good last time, but I felt a little tightness. They want me to pitch more time in the Minors. I have to do whatever they want.
"I want to be here, but like they say, I need more time. I have to pitch more, build more pitches, to be ready to be here. They want to make sure everything is OK. It hasn't been a year since I had the surgery. They know how hard it is."
Had De La Rosa made the June 2 target date, he would have been back a day short of the anniversary of last year's surgery. But rarely does a comeback from Tommy John surgery go so smoothly.
"I still don't think that this is any big thing," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "It's just another avenue in the road that you have to go down as you're recuperating."
Going into the season, the Rockies were hoping for solid work from a relatively young rotation that would get a lift from De La Rosa's return. Jeremy Guthrie, a veteran added during the winter, missed three starts in April and May with a shoulder injury. Jhoulys Chacin, expected to make major strides, tried to pitch through shoulder tightness, performed badly and hasn't pitched in a game since May 1. Now on the disabled list, Chacin isn't throwing because he needs to strengthen his shoulder.
For the Rockies to turn the corner after their 15-23 start going into Saturday's game with the Mariners, much of the responsibility falls to three young pitchers -- second-year righty Juan Nicasio and two rookies, righty Alex White and lefty Christian Friedrich, who started Saturday's contest. Guthrie and lefty Jamie Moyer are the staff's veterans.