NEW YORK — Rubby De La Rosa handled his demotion like a true professional.
The Boston Red Sox optioned De La Rosa to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Mookie Betts before Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. De La Rosa would have been well within his right to be upset — he pitched very well in five starts with the Red Sox — but the 25-year-old instead took the high road.
“It was positive for me. It’s fine,” De La Rosa said. “I have no choice. It’s hard for them, too. But at some point, I’m coming back. No, (I’m) not disappointed. That’s part of the game.”
De La Rosa, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in August 2012, went 2-2 with a 2.51 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in his first action as a starter with the Red Sox. The right-hander lasted seven innings in three of his five starts, holding the opposition scoreless in two instances.
“He clearly looks like a major league starter, which made today’s conversation really hard,” Red Sox manager Ben Cherington said Saturday. “We’re all confident he’ll be back here sooner rather than later, but this is the move we made today to have a position player. He took it very well and really professionally. He’s confident he’ll go down and do what he has to do. He’s a guy we’re going to count on a lot.”
De La Rosa was victimized by the Red Sox’s crowded rotation situation. There essentially were four starters vying for two spots — with Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy occupying the other three — once Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront returned. Buchholz immediately rejoined the rotation, and Brandon Workman, who also thrived last season, further proved he belongs in the majors.
Doubront, who is out of minor league options, joined Boston’s bullpen after the club designated Chris Capuano for assignment. De La Rosa, who has options remaining, was left in a holding pattern as the Sox tried to figure out a way to keep him on the roster. Boston ultimately needed a position player, and optioning De La Rosa, who hasn’t pitched in a game since June 21, made the most sense.
“I will say this, to Rubby’s credit, he looks upon himself as a pitcher and one who needs to go out and pitch. Whether that was here or Pawtucket, he was ready to go,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday. “He did everything in his power to impact the decision, and I think the additional days at the major league level were a reflection of that, trying to find a fit for him. But a difficult decision in terms of pitching means we’ve got quality guys we can choose from.”
De La Rosa certainly left his mark on the mound. On Saturday, he left an impression off it.