Rockies expect Jorge De La Rosa back from surgery in July

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A few weeks ago Jorge De La Rosa was said to be ahead of schedule in his recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery, leading to speculation that he might return to game action sooner than expected, but the Rockies are still being cautious with his timetable.

Pitching coach Bob Apodaca told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that “our hope” is to have De La Rosa back in the rotation in July, which would be about 14 months after the surgery.

He’ll need to avoid setbacks in the meantime and Saunders reports that De La Rosa will throw multiple bullpen sessions during the next week and then advance to facing live hitters in batting practice.

“BP will probably come in the latter part of spring training,” Apodaca told Saunders. “He will get into ballgames in extended spring after that. I don’t think we are in a hurry. When it’s his time, he will get back to us.”

De La Rosa, who made 10 starts with a 3.51 ERA before being shut down last season, is under contract for $10 million this year.

Felix Hernandez will miss 3-4 weeks with shoulder bursitis

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Mariners’ right-hander Felix Hernandez is looking at a 3-4 week recovery period, the team announced on Friday. Hernandez has been officially diagnosed with bursitis in his right shoulder after getting pulled from his last start against the Tigers on Tuesday.

It’s not the first shoulder issue the 31-year-old righty has dealt with during his career. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Hernandez was previously diagnosed with bursitis during a minor league stint in 2005, several weeks prior to making his major league start for Seattle. This time around, however, the injury is coupled with a few years of not-so-sharp stuff, waning velocity and career-low numbers, and while it’s certainly not a worst-case diagnosis, it seems like greater cause for concern.

Without Felix, the Mariners will keep rolling with James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ariel Miranda, Yovani Gallardo and Chase De Jong in their rotation. They’ll also keep Ben Gamel in right field, with starting right fielder Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks after sustaining a Grade 2 strain in his right oblique on Tuesday.

Rays acquire RHP Drew Smith from Tigers

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The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.