De La Rosa working to get on track for Red Sox


De La Rosa working to get on track for Red Sox

When the Red Sox pulled off their massive swap with the Los Angeles Dodgers last August, in addition to salary relief, they got five players in return.

Two -- Jerry Sands and Ivan DeJesus Jr. -- have already been traded again. A third, free agent first baseman James Loney, has signed elsewhere.

That leaves the Sox with two young pitchers, Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, from the deal. As highly valued as Webster is, De La Rosa is the one with the highest ceiling.

First, however, the Sox need to be convinced that De La Rosa, who underwent Tommy John surgery in August of 2011, is fully healthy.

De La Rosa, 23, made a handful of rehab appearances last summer and appeared in one game for the Dodgers before the deal. With the start of spring training less than a month away, he believes he's just about ready to compete.

The last hurdle is more mental than physical.

"I'm still working my way back,'' said De La Rosa last week after taking part in the team's Rookie Development Program in Boston. "You have to be sure you're (completely recovered). You don't want to get back to the game and (worry), 'Am I hurt?' I don't want to be afraid of pitching.''

Though he's been on a long-toss throwing program all winter, he's yet to be cleared to throw off a mound.

"He looks good," reported Ben Crockett, the Red Sox' director of player development. "He's definitely been ready with his throwing program. You can tell he's been working hard on the arm strength. He told us he's been throwing for quite a while, and it shows -- (he's shown a) really quick arm, the ball is jumping out. He's aggressive and confident with that throwing program. He's mixing in some of his off-speed pitches, and he looks like he's ready to compete."

In the long-term, De La Rosa -- with a mid-90s fastball, a changeup, curve and slider -- has the stuff to project as a starter. But for the time being, all the spots in the Red Sox' rotation are spoken for. That leaves De La Rosa either ticketed for Pawtucket, where he can get more innings and develop arm strength, or the Boston bullpen, where he could have a quicker impact.

"My goal,'' said De La Rosa, "is to be a starter. Always in my career, I've been a starter. That's my dream, to be a starter. I'll take any position or opening -- closer, relief, starter, I'm going to take it.''

De La Rosa is eager for the season to begin, since he didn't like the way the last one ended.

He wasn't upset at being traded ("OK, Boston needed me more than these guys"), but because he had yet to clear waivers, he couldn't officially be dealt until after the season.

That meant he spent the last few weeks of the 2012 season in baseball limbo, as the Dodgers, honoring the Red Sox' request, kept him out of action until the deal could be officially consummated.

"For me, I was off for two weeks,'' recounted De La Rosa. "I didn't do nothing except run, conditioning, and work out. Not pitching was sad for me. I wanted to go home. I called my agent. It was a bad experience for me.''

In a perfect world, De La Rosa would follow the same career path as another Dodgers pitching prospect from the Dominican, Pedro Martinez. The two have been compared some, because of their similar backgrounds and build.

"I know Pedro,'' said a smiling De La Rosa. "I know that family. Igrew up with them.''

Indeed, De La Rosa revealed that his grandmother worked as a nanny for Ramon and Pedro Martinez. Ramon, who also pitched for the Red Sox, works for the Dodgers and helped out De La Rosa in the minors while Pedro taught him how to throw his changeup, which was one of the best in the history of the game.

"I don't like to watch baseball,'' said De La Rosa. "But anytime Pedro pitched, I watched that game. All the time, all the time. I had to watch whatever he did. I wanted to be like him.''

Over the winter, there was talk that Pedro Martinez might soon rejoin the Red Sox organization as a part-time instructor or consultant, a move that De LaRosa would heartily endorse.

"I would feel safe,'' he said of Martinez's presence. "He'd be somebody to teach me more about baseball.''

For the time being, the Red Sox are focused on getting De La Rosa back on track.

"Obviously," said Crockett, "he's had some success at the major league level and has plenty of stuff to pitch up there. I think we just need to see a little bit more of him this spring training to make that judgment."

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

BOSTON (AP)  Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners to earn their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third consecutive win for Rodriguez (4-1), who went six innings, gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span.

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs. Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help from his defense. Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.


Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBI in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what manager John Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.


Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.


More AP baseball:

Pedroia (knee) out of lineup again after leaving game early Thursday

Pedroia (knee) out of lineup again after leaving game early Thursday

Dustin Pedroia is out of the lineup again tonight after leaving the Red Sox game Thursday night with knee pain in the fifth inning.

Josh Rutledge will start at second base as the Sox open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.  

The weather and sloppy field conditions were a factor in John Farrell deciding to get Pedroia out of the game Thursday and conditions haven’t improved significantly Friday. 

Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on that knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked the plunking war between the Orioles and Red Sox.

The full lineups: 

Jean Segura SS
Guillermo Heredia CF
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Danny Valencia 1B
Taylor Motter LF
Ben Gamel RF
Mike Zunino C

Yovanni Gallardo RHP

Mookie Betts RF
Andrew Benintendi LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Josh Rutledge 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr CF
Christian Vazquez C
Deven Marrero 3B

Eduardo Rodriguez LHP