JUPITER, Fla. -- Rubby De La Rosa meandered out of the away team’s shower and quietly dressed. He looks nothing like a former Dodgers Minor League Pitcher of the Year, nor does anything about his 5-foot-10, 205-pound frame imply he can throw a 100-mph fastball.
But it was the 23-year-old Dominican who caught the eye of Red Sox manager John Farrell in the Red Sox 5-3 win Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals here in Jupiter. De La Rosa hit the 100-mph mark several times over his two flawless innings and needed only three pitches to close out Boston’s win in the ninth.
“Three pitches for strikes, confidence on the mound -- a lot of good things,” Farrell said of De La Rosa. “It’s electric stuff. Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, time will tell what role he settles into.”
De La Rosa, acquired by the Red Sox as part of the massive trade that sent Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers, debuted with the Dodgers as a 22-year-old reliever in 2011, striking out two. He eventually made 10 starts that season for Los Angeles, going 4-5 with a 3.71 ERA and 60 strikeouts over 60-plus innings.
Then he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing shoulder in his final start of the 2011 season, an injury that required Tommy John surgery. A year later, he made one appearance for the Dodgers in the big leagues.
Now here he is, some five months into his time with the Red Sox. Farrell implied Sunday that his goal is finding some kind of role for De La Rosa in the Red Sox organization, and he’d like to see De La Rosa as a starter.
De La Rosa, in his hushed voice, said his first outing of 2013 felt comfortable, despite coming in as a late-inning reliever.
“I felt good,” said De La Rosa. “(My arm) feels better than before the surgery.”
Comfortable’s good enough for Farrell, who was blown away by De La Rosa’s two innings, even though they’re just that. Farrell spent some two minutes of his five-minute postgame interview with media talking about De La Rosa, even with veteran lefty Jon Lester making a strong spring-training debut.
“Physically ahead of what a realistic plan would be for him,” Farrell said. “It’s two innings in spring training, but a very impressive two.”