Awful news for the Rockies at this hour.
Jorge De La Rosa, who left this afternoon’s game against the Diamondbacks in the third inning, was diagnosed with a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. The Rockies are discussing the next step, but odds are he will need Tommy John surgery, which would sideline him until somewhere around the midpoint of the 2012 season.
De La Rosa tested free agency over the winter but re-signed with the Rockies for two years and $21.5 million with a club option for 2013. The 30-year-old southpaw was 5-2 with a 3.51 ERA and 52/22 K/BB ratio over his first 10 starts this season.
Aaron Cook’s pending return softens the blow at least a little bit, but now the Rockies will have to make due without the lone left-hander in their starting rotation.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.