Jorge De La Rosa to begin throwing program Friday

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Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery back in early June. He’s made good progress thus far and has managed to avoid setbacks, so the Rockies’ medical staff has cleared him to take a major step.

According to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post, De La Rosa will begin a throwing program on September 23. He’ll be limited to light games of catch initially, but the 30-year-old southpaw should begin throwing bullpen sessions by the middle of winter and could be ready to appear in simulated games by the start of the 2012 regular season.

De La Rosa posted a 3.51 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 52/22 K/BB ratio in 19 starts this season before tearing his ulnar collateral ligament. If he returns in 2012, it won’t happen until the middle of the summer.

Mariners sign Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal

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The Mariners signed free agent left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported Saturday. LeBlanc previously signed a minor league agreement with the Yankees, but later requested his release following the team’s Grapefruit League outing on Friday. The Mariners have yet to confirm the deal or disclose its terms.

This is LeBlanc’s second stint with the Mariners in two years. He was initially acquired by Seattle in the summer of 2016 after the Blue Jays traded him for cash considerations, and produced a 4.50 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 in 50 innings before getting designated for assignment in August. The 33-year-old southpaw was last seen in the majors with the Pirates, with whom he generated another 4.50 ERA, 2,3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 68 innings in 2017. He entered free agency after the club declined his $1.25 million option for 2018.

The signing comes at a fortuitous moment for the Mariners, who were pressed to find additional bullpen depth after right-handed reliever David Phelps tore his ulnar collateral ligament last week. As with most injuries of that kind, Phelps is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2018 season. LeBlanc made a full transition to the bullpen in 2017 and boasts the kind of reverse platoon splits (.216/.270/.389 vs. righties and .292/.333/.500 vs. lefties in 2017) that will make him an effective replacement for the right-handed Phelps.