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Jorge De La Rosa pitched through pain, lied about injury before Tommy John surgery

Feb 1, 2012, 10:15 AM EDT

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As Jorge De La Rosa progresses in his comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery Thomas Harding of MLB.com revealed some interesting details about how the veteran left-hander pitched through the pain initially and lied to the Rockies about the injury.

Harding of course doesn’t frame the information that way, calling it merely “stretching the truth,” but you can judge for yourself:

“It was real cold that day in Pittsburgh, and I felt something in my arm,” said De La Rosa. “I said it was a blister and they took me out of the game. I told them I would be OK. But I was not. It was weakness. The next day, I felt pain when I woke up.”

De La Rosa toughed out eight more starts, until May 24 when his elbow went during a start against the D-backs at Coors Field. He tried telling Rockies manager Jim Tracy and head athletic trainer Keith Dugger that the problem was his groin, but this time no one was fooled. Shortly thereafter, De La Rosa underwent season-ending Tommy John ligament transfer surgery.

Athletes are constantly praised for playing through injuries and in this case De La Rosa somehow managed to continue pitching relatively well, but he also lied about a significant elbow problem and told the people paying him $10 million per season that it was a blister and then a groin injury.

Yet based on Harding’s article you’d almost think the lies were a positive thing, because he writes that De La Rosa is “no longer burdened with harboring a secret impossible to keep” and “now the Rockies are making sure the gritty attitude that led De La Rosa to hide his injury doesn’t work against him in his comeback.”

Well, that’s certainly one way to put it. He’ll make $10 million this season and is aiming to return in late May or early June.

  1. cur68 - Feb 1, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    I would argue that Matsuzaka did much the same thing. Last season he was so atrocious that he had to be holding something back, probably due to pain (I don’t recall much velocity form that guy till June-ish). Gets ripped for sucking like an electrolux, feels the Shame, then he comes out for like 2 starts, throws in the 90’s and then, BOOM: pulled from the mound mid-game and TJS scheduled pretty much by the next day.

  2. poseidonsfist - Feb 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    This is really very common. Jeff Francis did the same thing a few years ago before his labrum ended up tattered. The Rockies were sinking, he was pitching extremely well. So well, in fact, that the torn UCL seemed to come out of nowhere…I can see what he was thinking. Had he bowed out in Pittsburgh (Ubaldo was already on the DL at the time), they’d be in guaranteed trouble. As it was, Esmil Rogers and Greg Reynolds were already in the rotation. I don’t like that he lied. I’d have preferred he sit out and come back late in the season, obviously. It’s understandable though.

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