The ninth-inning loss Monday night was enough for the Dodgers to press the panic button Tuesday, as the team has purchased the contract of its top pitching prospect, Rubby De La Rosa from Double A Chattanooga. The 22-year old was the Dodgers organizational pitcher of the year in 2010. To make room for the fireballing De La Rosa, the Dodgers designated Lance Cormier for assignment.
De La Rosa is the club's top starting prospect, and has been tabbed in recent weeks by general manager Ned Colletti as the "number six" starter, meaning if any one of the Dodgers' starting rotation goes down De La Rosa would have gotten the call. However, the Dodgers' immediate need is in the bullpen, and that's where De La Rosa will begin his big league career. Per DodgerTalk co-host Joe Block:
[Don] Mattingly said "long-term we view (De La Rosa) as a starter. You want to try to get him clean innings and break him in like anybody else."
De La Rosa last pitched on Saturday for Chattanooga. He only pitched two innings in his start, but that was part of a planned rest to limit his innings, something the Dodgers have done every so often in recent years for their top starting pitching prospects. In 40 innings at Double A this season, De La Rosa was 2-2 with a 2.92 ERA, 19 walks, and 52 strikeouts.
Cormier, signed to a minor league contract this winter that paid him a major league salary of $800,000, was used by the Dodgers almost exclusively in low-leverage situations as a mop-up man this season. Cormier struggled mightily, allowing 27 baserunners in 13 2/3 innings and putting up a 9.88 ERA. The Dodgers' bullpen depth came in question last Wednesday when Cormier was the last man available to pitch the ninth inning of a tie game with the Giants. He promptly gave up a three-run home run to Cody Ross to negate the Dodgers' unlikely comeback in that game.
Relief pitchers Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo, Vicente Padilla, and Blake Hawksworth are all currently on the disabled list for the Dodgers. Five different players have recorded saves this season. Hawksworth is due back on Friday when the Dodgers open up a homestand with Florida.
Tonight's 5:05 p.m. PDT game will be televised by KCAL. For more news and information on the Dodgers, or on tonight's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog True Blue LA.