Hurt thumb causes De La Rosa to exit early

Hurt thumb causes De La Rosa to exit early

Hurt thumb causes De La Rosa to exit early

DENVER -- Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa exited Saturday's 2-1 victory over the Giants at the start of the seventh inning with a bruised left thumb -- an injury that has been an issue through his last three starts, even though those games have been stellar.

De La Rosa held the Giants to one run and six hits, struck out four against one walk and threw 86 pitches. He held the Giants scoreless until Buster Posey knocked an RBI double to left field in the sixth inning to tie the score.

But De La Rosa was removed after having the thumb attended to by the training staff just before the seventh began.

De La Rosa incurred the injury June 17 in the fourth of his seven scoreless, one-hit innings in a no-decision against the Blue Jays. It hurt throughout last Sunday's win at Washington, when he pitched in pain for six innings but held the Nationals to two runs and seven hits in six innings of a 7-6 victory.

Once again, the thumb hurt Saturday. De La Rosa said the pain intensified in the second inning when he bunted and the force of Matt Cain's pitch bent back his thumb. Nonetheless, De La Rosa and manager Walt Weiss each said they don't expect the injury to affect his next start.

"I will do everything for this team," said De La Rosa, who has said the issue arose in Toronto because of the force of his two-seam fastball -- a pitch he added this year. "If I can throw the ball, I will be out there."

This is not the first time De La Rosa has dealt with an issue on his pitching hand this year.

In starts against the Padres on June 7 and the Nationals on June 12, De La Rosa dealt with a cut on his middle finger and lasted just five innings and 5 1/3 innings, respectively. He gave up a total of 15 hits and seven earned runs and lost the latter start.

Any injury issue with De La Rosa raises concern.

De La Rosa is 8-4 with a 3.09 ERA in 17 starts and is one of the keys to the rotation. The fact he was limited to three starts last year because of a longer-than-expected recovery from a June 2011 Tommy John surgery on the left elbow was one of the reasons the Rockies' rotation struggled and the team lost a club-record 98 games.

Weiss commended De La Rosa for pitching with aplomb despite the issues.

"Jorge threw well again, and he's been really good for us," Weiss said. "He went out there again today and shut down a really good offensive club, just like Jhoulys [Chacin] did last night [in a 4-1 victory].

"He's been really impressive, especially considering the time he's missed in the last year and a half."

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.