SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- From the outside, left-hander Jorge De La Rosa is one of the Rockies' biggest questions this year. After two essentially lost seasons because of an elbow injury that required surgery, it's still unknown whether he can return to his place as one of the game's most effective left-handed pitchers.
De La Rosa, however, believes he'll provide a positive answer. He underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2011, and after a comeback full of setbacks, made just three starts last season. Not having De La Rosa around to lead the staff was one of the many reasons the starting rotation struggled and the Rockies lost a club-record 98 games.
De La Rosa admitted Monday that he threw tentatively last season, especially when throwing a breaking ball. He pitched in instructional ball after the season, but that was cut short when he suffered a slight left knee strain.
But once he ramped up for this season, he said his arm felt "perfect." He sees himself regaining the form that led to a 16-9 record with a 4.38 ERA while helping the Rockies to the 2009 playoffs.
"I never thought it would be that hard," said De La Rosa, who was at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick for a physical and to shoot television commercials Monday, a day before the first workout for Rockies pitchers and catchers. "But I feel very good right now. I think I can be good.
"Right now, I feel like I never had this injury. I feel perfect. It was a long time to come back."
De La Rosa, who turns 32 on April 5, is being paid $11 million this year to complete a three-year, $31.5 million contract. A good year could entice the Rockies to pick up his $11 million option for 2014.
Outman looking to put 2012 season behind him
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Not long after learning he had made the Rockies' 2012 Opening Day roster, left-hander Josh Outman came down with a case of food poisoning and suffered a strained oblique while vomiting.
Changes in his motion while trying to come back from the injury caused inconsistency that led to a season of bouncing between the Majors and the Minors. He wasn't right until September, when he threw scoreless ball in nine of 12 relief appearances. He finished the year 1-3 with an 8.19 ERA in 27 games, including seven starts.
After the season, Outman, 28, went 2-1 with a 4.21 ERA in six starts in the Dominican Winter League, and he is back at camp this year hoping to turn heads again -- and be known for more than the guy whose stomach turned at the wrong time.
"I don't think that I'm ever going to be able to live that one down, and I've made peace with that fact," Outman said. "Once it's out there, it's out there. But I think I'm OK with that story being embellished if I can put my body of work from last season to rest. It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mentality. If I have a strong 2013, everybody will forget about 2012."
The Rockies have said Outman is a competitor for a starting-rotation spot, but he also has the versatility to pitch out of the bullpen.
Pomeranz doesn't plan to dwell on struggles
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies left-hander Drew Pomeranz is coming off a 2-9 record and 4.93 ERA in 22 Major League starts in 2012, plus a lengthy demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Part of his strategy for reversing his struggles is to not spend much time dwelling on them.
Pomeranz, 24, was a top pick of the Indians in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and was highly touted when he came to the Rockies as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade in '11. But Pomeranz suffered an appendicitis attack in '11 and wasn't himself when he was called to the Majors to finish the season. The inconsistent delivery continued last season.
This offseason, Pomeranz worked out at Athletes Performance Institute in Los Angeles and spent time throwing at a facility owned by longtime Major League lefty Glendon Rusch, who spent part of his career with the Rockies. Through it all, Pomeranz believes he found his motion, and will be the pitcher the Rockies thought they were getting.
"I'm trying not to force any issue, just trying to let it happen, then try to repeat it," Pomeranz said. "I just tried to do too much, tried to think too much. Whatever my natural motion is, that's what I need to have and be comfortable with.
"I don't feel I was myself for about a year and a half, honestly. I'm trying to get back to where I was two years ago, my first Spring Training. It was the best I ever felt."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.