9/11/2013 3:01 A.M. ET
Sore thumb forces De La Rosa's early exit
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa left Tuesday night's start against the Giants after two innings -- his shortest start in five years -- because of a recurrence of left thumb soreness, plus soreness in the index and middle fingers.
The thumb has been an issue since June, and he has a history of blisters on his fingers. The finger soreness Tuesday was on the back of the fingers. De La Rosa said he felt more pain than normal while playing catch Monday and it never subsided Tuesday.
De La Rosa left Tuesday trailing, 4-0, but the Rockies got him off the hook for a loss by taking the lead in the sixth inning. The Rockies ended up winning, 9-8.
"Yesterday I played catch and I felt a little more pain than normal," De La Rosa said. "I don't know why. Today when I was warming up, it bothered me. It's not an excuse to not make good pitches.
"It probably was the cold [65 degrees by the Bay can be chilly with the wind]. ... It's a long time since I've pitched in this kind of weather. Probably that affected me. But like I say, I made a lot of mistakes with some hitters and I paid for it."
De La Rosa, who entered Tuesday looking to tie the Nationals' Jordan Zimmermann for the National League lead in wins (17), gave up four runs -- on a three-run homer off the left-field pole to Hunter Pence in the first inning and an RBI double from Marco Scutaro in the second -- on four hits and three walks. Righty Jeff Manship replaced De La Rosa.
It was the shortest outing for De La Rosa since July 31, 2008, during his first season with the Rockies, when he left after 1 2/3 innings in an outing that saw him give up seven earned runs on five hits and four walks.
De La Rosa first suffered a bruised left thumb June 17 at Toronto. He pitched through it that day and held the Blue Jays scoreless on one hit through seven innings. The Rockies ended up losing that game, 2-0, and De La Rosa did not figure in that decision.
In every start since, De La Rosa has admitted, the thumb has been a problem to some degree. Nevertheless, from the day he suffered the injury through his last start, a home win over the Dodgers, he was 9-2 with a 3.15 ERA in 15 starts.
De La Rosa said at the time he suffered the injury throwing a pitch, but in several games since, he has aggravated it either bunting or swinging.
Still, De La Rosa did not rule out making his next start.
Oswalt looks to regain strength in next start
SAN FRANCISCO -- Veteran Rockies right-hander Roy Oswalt hopes he can maintain command throughout his time on the mound Friday night, when he starts against the D-backs at Chase Field.
Oswalt, 36, suffered a left hamstring strain while pitching against the D-backs on July 7. On Sunday, in his first game in the Majors since then, Oswalt threw 3 1/3 relief innings and gave up five runs in a loss to the Padres. He gave up one run in his first three innings, and the next four runs came after he gave up two walks and two hits in five batters.
Oswalt did have a rehab start at Rookie-level Grand Junction in which he threw 55 pitches. The outing against the Padres was 66 pitches.
"It's a little different, the Pioneer League and the big leagues," Oswalt said. "My command was a little bit off when I went out for my fourth inning [against the Padres]. I'm hoping to get 60-65 pitches and maybe get into the fifth inning."
Pitching coach Jim Wright said, "Maybe it was my fault. I left him in a little bit longer because I wanted to build him up. But we left him in to the point of fatigue, which is good in some respects. It didn't turn out so well, although it wasn't like he was getting tattooed or anything.
"But he kept control of his stride and I see a guy that's going to make his pitches."
Oswalt didn't sign with the Rockies until May and made four starts before suffering the hamstring injury. The Rockies have him set for three end-of-the-season starts to see if they will bring him back next season. They expect to have four spots set, with lefty Jorge De La Rosa and righties Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood and Juan Nicasio.
Re-signing Oswalt or some other solid veterans would mean someone like Chad Bettis, who has made eight big league starts (0-3, 5.02 ERA) since making the jump from Double-A, would have to blow away the Rockies' evaluators to be in the rotation.
Of Oswalt, Wright said, "I still think there's a lot of pitching left in him. He'll be one of the anchors of this staff next year, especially with our young guys -- not that he's going to be a grandfather, but a guy that can lead the way."
Skipper likes Arenado's aggressive defense
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado committed his 11th error when he barehanded an eighth-inning roller off Angel Pagan's bat and threw wildly to first base in a 3-2 loss to the Giants on Monday night.
Arenado has received buzz for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award -- an honor no rookie third baseman has ever won. The error was his third in the last seven games. He has a .971 fielding percentage for the season. But manager Walt Weiss believes the willingness to take risks, even if it leads to an error, is a plus, not a minus.
"I don't want to squelch his ability or his confidence in finishing plays," Weiss said. "One of the things I like about Nolan is he'll try to finish some really difficult plays. He'll figure out where that line is. He's got a good feel for the game.
"He does it because he's got the ability to do it. He's done it before. We've seen him make some unbelievable plays that were similar to last night, where you think he doesn't have a shot but he somehow pulls it off. I'd rather a guy err on the side of trying to finish plays like that."
Arenado's highlight package is full of plays he has made, but Weiss, a daring fielder in his day, said he is even more impressed by one he didn't make.
"I can appreciate it, because I've done it; it's a big part of Nolan's game," Weiss said. "One of the best plays he made this year was a play he didn't finish, in Houston. He went far to his left to try to do a 360 and throw the guy out at the plate. We didn't get the out and I think he threw the ball away, but it said a lot to me that a young kid was willing to put his neck out there and try to finish a play like that."
Weiss: Rockies pitchers deserve more credit
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa entered Tuesday night's start against the Giants with a shot at 20 wins should he win each remaining start, and he is 10-1 with a 2.76 ERA at Coors Field. Righty Jhoulys Chacin, after his strong seven innings against the Giants on Monday night, has a 2.10 road ERA.
Yet neither is mentioned among the National League's top pitchers.
Manager Walt Weiss said Tuesday that their lack of regard isn't fair, especially given the fact that positive offensive numbers Rockies players post are often discounted because of the way Coors Field plays.
"Guys have been penalized, offensive players have, in our park since the franchise has been in existence, but you don't see it the other way around," Weiss said. "Guys don't get credit for having to pitch there. It is somewhat hypocritical.
"The year De La Rosa has put together, the year Chacin has put together should grab a lot of people's attention, pitching in our park. At the same time, I think the offensive thing is overblown."
• Catcher Wilin Rosario returned to the Rockies' lineup Tuesday after missing three games with an infected wisdom tooth. Rosario (.289, 21 homers, 74 RBIs) will wait until after the season to have the tooth removed.
• Weiss said his manager the first six years of his Major League career, Tony La Russa, continues to guide him. "He spent a lot of time with me, reached out to me at different times," Weiss said. "A lot of times I'll have a text from him before I even get back to my office after the third out is made in a tough game. I'm very grateful for Tony."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.