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Rattled Dodgers call up their minor league pitcher of the year, Rubby De La Rosa, from double A [Updated]

May 24, 2011 |  4:21 pm

Rubby1 Desperate times call for desperate measures, or at least call-ups.

The Dodgers, feeling troubled earlier this season in left field, called up Jerry Sands, who just a year ago was starting the season at Class A.

Now the Dodgers, melting in the bullpen and tired of carrying the nearly useless Lance Cormier, have called up Rubby De La Rosa from double A Chattanooga.

Like Sands, De La Rosa started last season at Class A. Like Sands, who was the Dodgers' minor league player of the year last season, De La Rosa was their minor league pitcher of the year.

He’s been mostly a starting pitcher, but for now will go the bullpen, presumably for long relief.

If the Dodgers are playing well, and not placing almost a second team on the disabled list, Sands and De La Rosa are still in the minors, being carefully brought along.

But these Dodgers are reeling and threatening to disappear from the National League West race before June rolls around.

Plus, Cormier had been completely unproductive. He was 0-1 with a 9.88 ERA, had given up runs in seven of nine appearances and never did have a 1-2-3 inning. He has been designated for assignment. In the spring, he turned down an offer to start the season at triple A Albuquerque.

Cormier was reasonably effective for Tampa Bay last season (4-3, 3.92 ERA in 60 games), but could never find his rhythm with the Dodgers.

The right-handed De La Rosa was impressive this spring (2.29 ERA, 16 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings), and continued to shine at Chattanooga (2-2, 2.92 ERA, 52 strikeouts and 19 walks in 40 innings). There's no doubt he's a promising talent.

Still, if the Dodgers’ house is in reasonable order, De La Rosa is looking at a summer promotion to triple A, not being asked to help stabilize a beaten-down bullpen.

[Updated at 4:44 p.m. from Ben Bolch in Houston:

Consider De La Rosa as shocked as anyone by his arrival in the major leagues.

“I’m very surprised,” said the 22-year-old.

Manager Don Mattingly said the Dodgers “wanted to put another quality arm out there” with four relievers on the disabled list and other pitchers battling bouts of ineffectiveness.

Though he had been used exclusively as a starter this season, De La Rosa is expected to start his major league career as a reliever. But Mattingly said the Dodgers envision the native of the Dominican Republic as a starter over the long term.

De La Rosa, who was holding opposing hitters to a .199 batting average at Chattanooga, features a fastball that has been clocked in the upper 90s, complemented by an improving slider and a changeup that Mattingly described as “dirty.”

“When you see his stuff,” Mattingly said, “you think this guy’s a big-league pitcher.”

When the Dodgers broke camp in spring training, they gave their reigning minor league pitcher of the year no indication he would pitch in the majors this season.

“They told me to keep working hard, and that’s it,” De La Rosa said.]

ALSO:

Angels outfielder Vernon Wells' dad has a different frame of reference

Dodgers can't hold it together in 4-3 loss to Houston

-- Steve Dilbeck, and Ben Bolch from Houston

Photo: Dodgers pitcher Rubby De La Rosa. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

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