DENVER -- Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa returns to the Colorado Rockies' rotation Tuesday when they begin a two-game series with the New York Yankees at Coors Field.
He was the Rockies' Opening Day starter but went 1-3 with a 10.18 ERA in five starts and on April 27 went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin. De La Rosa was reinstated May 24 for a start at Boston where he allowed nine hits and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. With a 1-4 record and 11.41 ERA at that point, he was demoted to the bullpen.
De La Rosa made two successful two-inning appearances and then threw four perfect innings with five strikeouts Thursday to earn the win against Pittsburgh, a 47-pitch outing that included 31 strikes. That was the longest relief appearance of his career and put him on regular rest to face the Yankees. Overall, De La Rosa is 2-4 with a 8.81 ERA.
"All the things we've asked him to do, we've seen those things," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said, explaining the decision to again have De La Rosa start. "We've seen the tempo pick up. We've seen the (better) use of the fastball, the (better) use of the curveball. More efficient. All the things that we felt he needed to work on, that's what he's done."
De La Rosa is the Rockies' career leader in wins (80) and strikeouts (916) and the all-time leader in victories at Coors Field where he is 50-18 with a 4.26 ERA.
The Yankees and Rockies last played in 2013 when the Yankees took two of three games at Coors Field. The Rockies are 5-4 at Coors Field against the Yankees, but the Yankees lead the all-time series 9-6.
Both the Rockies and Yankees had a much-needed day off Monday.
On Sunday, the Rockies finished a stretch of 27 straight days with a game, counting the game that was started but ultimately canceled after a long rain delay at Pittsburgh on May 22. The Rockies went 11-15 during that stretch and have won four of their past five games and six of their past eight. On Tuesday, they will be trying to win three straight games for the first time since their season-high five-game winning streak May 11-17.
The Yankees on Sunday ended a stretch of 40 games in 41 days, during which they went 23-17. After five straight wins -- a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angles and a win Friday in the series opener against Detroit -- the Yankees dropped the final two games against the Tigers to slip under .500 at 31-32. But their 23-17 run came after the Yankees fell to 8-15 to start the season.
"I think we're playing much better, and I think our starting pitching has been much better," manager Joe Girardi told the New York Times. "And, really, that's a big part of it. When your starting pitchers are doing their job, you're going to win a lot more games."
In dire need of a first baseman, the Yankees are expected to add Ike Davis to their roster Tuesday. The Texas Rangers released Davis, 29, from his minor league contract Sunday. He was hitting .268 with four homers and 25 RBI in 39 games and a .786 OPS for Triple-A Round Rock. Reliever Chad Green, who worked one perfect inning Sunday, was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, which opened a roster spot for Davis.
Nathan Eovaldi, who is 6-2 with a 4.42 ERA, will start Tuesday at Coors Field. He is 6-0 with a 3.86 ERA in his past nine starts and last lost April 20. Eovaldi has allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings in each of his past two outings, both no-decisions.
Eovaldi is 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA in five career starts against the Rockies and 1-1 with a 1.47 ERA in three starts at Coors Field.