- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
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Dodgers pitcher Rubby De La Rosa returned to the Dodgers clubhouse Sunday for the first time in almost a year after pitching two hitless and scoreless innings with four strikeouts in his second Minor League rehab start Saturday night for Class A Rancho Cucamonga.
De La Rosa said he felt pain in his groin during Saturday’s rehab start, which was cut short. He was in Los Angeles to get his groin checked out but felt good about his progress and eventual return to the team.
“I feel very good,” said De La Rosa, who also pitched three scoreless innings last Sunday. “Everything is coming together. Everything is progressing very good. I’m feeling pretty excited to (come back to the Dodgers). I can’t wait.”
De La Rosa suffered a tear of his ulnar collateral ligament on July 31, 2011, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was placed on the disabled list after the game and underwent Tommy John surgery.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wasn’t sure when De La Rosa would return to the team but did not rule out the possibility he could return at some point this season.
“He’s day-to-day now right now,” Mattingly said. “It’s probably nothing major because that’s an area where pitchers always worry about, but the good news is it’s not his elbow. It’s just really something that comes from normal pitching. We’ll see how that goes. I don’t really think it sets him back to a point where it takes him off schedule. Maybe a day or two but it’s nothing major.”
Mattingly said it might be optimistic to think De La Rosa could be effective this season, saying it usually takes players 16 months to start feeling right again after Tommy John surgery. But Mattingly said he would continue to monitor De La Rosa, who was 4-5 last season with a 3.71 ERA and 60 strikeouts.
“Ruby was honestly going to be a bonus,” Mattingly said. “Ruby is not coming off a tender elbow; he’s coming off of major surgery. This is not a guy you can pencil in and say he’s going to be fine. To me, the Tommy John guys are usually better not even the first year but the year after they return. That’s when they become themselves.
"So to sit here and count on Ruby doesn’t make any sense to me. But to say he might be a part of something in September, we’ll see.”
Here are the lineups for Sunday's game:
1. David DeJesus RF
2. Brett Jackson CF
3. Anthony Rizzo 1B
4. Alfonso Soriano LF
5. Starlin Castro SS
6. Welington Castillo C
7. Luis Valbuena 3B
8. Darwin Barney 2B
9. Justin Gerrmano P
1. Shane Victorino LF
2. Mark Ellis 2B
3. Matt Kemp CF
4. Andre Ethier RF
5. Hanley Ramirez SS
6. James Loney 1B
7. Luis Cruz 3B
8. A.J. Ellis C
9. Joe Blanton P