Jorge De La Rosa pitched through pain, lied about injury before Tommy John surgery

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As Jorge De La Rosa progresses in his comeback from Tommy John elbow surgery Thomas Harding of MLB.com revealed some interesting details about how the veteran left-hander pitched through the pain initially and lied to the Rockies about the injury.

Harding of course doesn’t frame the information that way, calling it merely “stretching the truth,” but you can judge for yourself:

“It was real cold that day in Pittsburgh, and I felt something in my arm,” said De La Rosa. “I said it was a blister and they took me out of the game. I told them I would be OK. But I was not. It was weakness. The next day, I felt pain when I woke up.”

De La Rosa toughed out eight more starts, until May 24 when his elbow went during a start against the D-backs at Coors Field. He tried telling Rockies manager Jim Tracy and head athletic trainer Keith Dugger that the problem was his groin, but this time no one was fooled. Shortly thereafter, De La Rosa underwent season-ending Tommy John ligament transfer surgery.

Athletes are constantly praised for playing through injuries and in this case De La Rosa somehow managed to continue pitching relatively well, but he also lied about a significant elbow problem and told the people paying him $10 million per season that it was a blister and then a groin injury.

Yet based on Harding’s article you’d almost think the lies were a positive thing, because he writes that De La Rosa is “no longer burdened with harboring a secret impossible to keep” and “now the Rockies are making sure the gritty attitude that led De La Rosa to hide his injury doesn’t work against him in his comeback.”

Well, that’s certainly one way to put it. He’ll make $10 million this season and is aiming to return in late May or early June.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.