SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Colorado Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa has always struggled with his emotions.
Sometimes the fiery persona on the mound helps him. When it would work against him, he'd turn to his mother, Juana, in his native Mexico. De La Rosa says she'd be the first or second person he'd call after a bad game.
Juana had cancer last year. She had surgery to remove a tumor in November and the prognosis was good. Then things took a sudden bad turn, and Juana died just before the start of spring training.
It's left a void, just as the 32-year-old De La Rosa prepares to make his first opening-day start Monday at Miami.
De La Rosa went 16-6 with a career-best 3.49 ERA for a 74-88 team in 2013.