May 21, 2013 at 8:49 PM
After dazzling in his first two Grapefruit League starts in spring training, Rubby De La Rosa became one of the most talked-about young players in Red Sox Nation. After all, it was his first time pitching in a Red Sox uniform after being sent over from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the offseason to complete the August 2012 megatrade, and he looked dominant while lighting up radar guns with a fastball that grazes triple digits.
However, after those first two outings, the reality set in that he still had work to do in developing as a pitcher and returning to form following Tommy John surgery in August 2011. De La Rosa allowed seven earned runs in his next two Grapefruit League outings over 2 2/3 innings, and was optioned back to minor league camp soon thereafter.
He headed north with the Pawtucket Red Sox to begin the season, and the same problems he experienced late in major league camp seemed to carry over early on for him there. In his first three starts with the team, De La Rosa posted an ERA of 13.50 over 6 2/3 innings to go along with seven strikeouts versus six walks.
His fourth start of the season was a turning point, though, and since then he has not allowed an earned run in 18 innings, while striking out 22 and walking eight.
"I think he got beat up a couple outings, and I think that kind of humbled him a little bit," Pawtucket manager Gary DiSarcina said. "He realized -- talking to [pitching coach] Rich [Sauveur] too, Rich has been on him on a daily basis about pitching -- I just think his demeanor has changed over the last [five] outings."
Photo credit: Rubby De La Rosa by Kelly O'Connor