DENVER -- Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa finally has good news to report after playing catch before Tuesday night's 8-3 win over the Red Sox.
De La Rosa has been pitching through a bruised left thumb since June 17 and it acted up when he tried to play catch last Saturday. But he said Tuesday's outing went "much better" and tried long tossing before Wednesday night's home finale against the Red Sox.
With just three games left, it's unlikely there's time for him to work in one more start. But De La Rosa said there's still a chance he pitches on Sunday, when Tyler Chatwood is scheduled to start against the Dodgers.
But manager Walt Weiss isn't too worried about whether De La Rosa, whose 16 wins lead Colorado's staff and also match his career-high, sees game action before the season ends.
"For me, it's not important that he just gets back on the mound," Weiss said. "I think it's important that he goes into the offseason healthy. He's had a great year."
De La Rosa last pitched on Sept. 2, but lasted just two innings against the Giants as his index and middle fingers also flared up.
De La Rosa and Chatwood -- two centerpieces of the rotation alongside Jhoulys Chacin -- have both missed significant time this year. Though that's brought expected frustration, it's also left De La Rosa confident that the rotation will be sharper in 2014.
"Next year is going to be way better than this year," De La Rosa said. "We had some problems this year, but some people getting hurt. But next year, we're going to try to stay healthy and get better. We got a lot of talent here to be in a good place, and we're going to do that next year."
Weiss is well aware that pitching is what usually carries clubs to the postseason, and he has been pleased with the progress he's seen this year. The Rockies' 5.22 team ERA last season was the worst in the Majors, and though their 4.37 mark in 2013 ranks near the bottom, Weiss' optimism for the future mirrors that of De La Rosa.
"You turn on the TV in October, you're going to see a lot of good arms," Weiss said. "I think ultimately, you have to perform well on the mound. I think we've taken some strides, especially with the three starters [De La Rosa, Chacin, Chatwood]. We've come a long way in that department."
Rosario still likely to return against Dodgers
DENVER -- Manager Walt Weiss remains confident that catcher Wilin Rosario will play in the Rockies' final series at Dodger Stadium, despite Rosario battling cramps during a bullpen session before Wednesday night's game against Boston.
Rosario has not played since Sept. 17 due to a strained right calf that makes quick movement and running difficult. Wednesday's bullpen was the first true test of how his calf is healing.
"He started to cramp up a little bit and had to step away from that bullpen session," Weiss said. "I don't know if I'd call it a setback, but I think once he felt a little cramping, we got cautious.
"It's not a sure thing, but I still have a feeling he's going to play sometime in L.A."
Rosario is hitting .292 with 29 homers, 22 doubles and 79 RBIs in his sophomore campaign, among the best totals for National League catchers and similar to numbers he posted in a breakout rookie campaign. He's also made strides defensively, as he was scrutinized for the 21 passed balls and 13 errors he finished with in 2012.
The Rockies play their final three games against the Dodgers starting on Friday.
Ottavino setting up for important role in 2014
DENVER -- September callups mean fresh arms in the bullpen and new roles for relievers who have been mainstays.
For Adam Ottavino, used as a multiple-inning, middle reliever by the Rockies for much of the season, it's meant a transition to a late-inning setup man. His last eight appearances have each lasted just one inning, none coming earlier than the sixth.
Ottavino said his approach hasn't changed, and it's certainly looked like a smooth transition as he's allowed only one run over those eight appearances.
"I've thrown a lot of innings already and with other guys being in that long role, then it just opened up more opportunity for me to pitch situationally," Ottavino said.
Ottavino been in the one-inning role before, having done it when he was first called up in 2012 and also serving as a part-time closer in college at Northeastern.
But manager Walt Weiss sees Ottavino's current role as his more than just a temporary assignment. While he has the pitch arsenal to be a longer-inning reliever, Weiss like how Ottavino has handled the pressure of a late-game situations with a slim lead.
"That was the plan in the second half, to get him more of those innings -- one-inning appearances late in the game," Weiss said. "He's had a handful of those seventh-inning appearances with the lead, and he's handles it really well. I think that's what Otto's evolving into.
"As we look at our club next year, he's one of the candidates for one of those back-end guys in the bullpen."
Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.