DENVER -- If not for a nagging left thumb injury, Jorge De La Rosa would likely be posting some of the best numbers in the National League.
De La Rosa has quashed the idea that pitchers can't thrive in the Mile High air of Coors Field, posting a 2.76 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 14 home starts. A bruised thumb on his pitching hand has often shortened his outings since mid-June and kept him from making his last two starts.
After having Tommy John surgery in 2011, this was his first full season back. That only adds to the disappointment of missing the end of the season, but De La Rosa hasn't abandoned all hope that he will get healthy enough to make one last start.
"It's very frustrating," De La Rosa said. "You want to finish the season strong and I couldn't pitch the last two games. But we'll try to play catch and see if I can pitch another game."
De La Rosa has a history of hand issue and believes they are a result of gripping the ball too tightly -- especially when throwing his fastball. MRIs showed no damage to the tendons, and according to De La Rosa, doctors say healing will only come with about three weeks of rest. Pitching every day never allowed that to happen.
Manager Walt Weiss said Saturday night that De La Rosa tried to play catch before that game and the thumb acted up. Time is running short, but Weiss still hasn't decided if he will give one of the best arms on his staff a chance at win No. 17, which would be a new career-high.
"He was just playing catch, and his thumb has flared up pretty good," Weiss said. "So he's another one we're getting to the point where you wonder if he's going to be out there again, but we're still shooting for that. He's still getting his treatment, still going to try to throw and there's still a chance he could make a start.
"But we got to make a smart decision on that."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.