The move by the Dodgers to activate Rubby De La Rosa on Tuesday before their game with the Giants was a bit surprising, even to De La Rosa himself. The right-hander, 378 days removed from Tommy John surgery, figured his rehab would continue until a possible September return, when rosters expand.
"Really?" he asked Dodgers assistant general manager and head of player development De Jon Watson on Tuesday morning when De La Rosa got the call back to the majors.
"I'm so surprised it would be that soon," said De La Rosa, who will pitch in relief for the Dodgers.
Manager Don Mattingly said he would try to ease De La Rosa in since he hasn't pitched in the majors since July 31, 2011. But he likes having a unique weapon to add to his bullpen.
"He's a power arm, a guy that's swing and miss. Especially in a one-inning situation. Out of the bullpen guys are a little more aggressive," Mattingly said. "Rubby's kind of all out, all the time."
During his rehab, De La Rosa said he hit 99 MPH, and said he had an eye on the stadium radar gun "all the time." When asked if he would hit 100 again, De La Rosa just smiled and said, "I think so."
To make room for De La Rosa, the Dodgers optioned Javy Guerra in a somewhat puzzling move. Mattingly cited Guerra's game Saturday with two walks to his three hitters faced, but that followed a stretch of 11 scoreless innings with two walks and 13 strikeouts.
"We have to get better command with Javy," Mattingly said. "We'll give him those 10 days here to put those finishing touches, get back in the groove without the pressure of the pennant race."
Guerra and Shawn Tolleson both have options, so they were the two realistic candidates to get sent down for 11 days until rosters expand. Tolleson has been working on a streak of his own, with 9 1/3 scoreless innings in his last 11 games, but with just five strikeouts and five walks.
Given that Guerra has generally been used in higher leverage situations than Tolleson, and that Tolleson has already been optioned twice this season, it was a little surprising that Guerra was optioned instead of Tolleson. But given that the Dodgers currently have an eight-man bullpen and a four-man bench, it would make sense if Tolleson will also soon be optioned for another position player. But that is just speculation at this point.
- Jerry Hairston Jr. might not be back this season, as his left hip inflammation is worse than originally thought. Mattingly said surgery was an option being considered for the utility man. "Jerry has not really responded. He's still having a lot of pain and debating on what his next step is. We originally felt this was going to be 15 days, but right now Jerry hasn't responded very well at this point.," Mattingly said.
Ted Lilly said he will throw a bullpen session today, and another one on Friday, followed by a minor league rehab assignment of a few games. Lilly is looking to a September return, in a relief role. Lilly said he would approach pitching in relief the same as he does to start. "It's still about executing pitches," he said.
Matt Guerrier will pitch his third rehab game for Class A Rancho Cucamonga tonight, and is also eying a September return.
- Justin Sellers will have lower back surgery on Thursday, performed by Dr. Robert Watkins Jr. in Los Angeles. That will end the season for Sellers, who last played on May 22.
- The Dodgers announced that their home game on Sunday, September 2 against Arizona will be a 1:10 p.m. PDT start.
Mark Ellis gets the night off on Tuesday, with Adam Kennedy starting at second base. Buster Posey moves from behind the plate to first base for the Giants, with Hector Sanchez catching Tim Lincecum.
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.