TEMPE, Ariz. -- Dane De La Rosa's forearm injury, which caused a rough outing against the Dodgers on Thursday and prompted him to leave the game early, was diagnosed as a sprain, an MRI confirmed, and the power reliever doesn't believe he'll start the season on the disabled list.
"I doubt it," a relieved De La Rosa said on Friday morning while hooked up to an electronic muscle massager. "I should be fine. I'm not sure about the timeline, I can't really say, but it won't be too long."
Starting the sixth inning from Tempe Diablo Stadium, De La Rosa -- the journeyman 31-year-old coming off a breakout season in 2013 -- allowed five of the seven batters he faced to reach and served up a grand slam to Scott Van Slyke. With two outs in the inning, he was removed from the game.
"I just didn't feel the ball," he said. "There were a few times when I just had no idea where it was going. I just couldn't feel my fingertips. If you can't feel your fingertips when you're pitching, it's not a good thing."
De La Rosa said that he and the Angels will "attack [rehab] pretty aggressively," but he doesn't have a gauge on a timeline because he hasn't visited with the team's medical staff yet. Manager Mike Scioscia said that a return by Opening Day, on March 31, is "still realistic because he's a bullpen guy, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."
De La Rosa earned the nickname "Everyday Dane" last season for the frequency of his use. He pitched in 75 games, fifth-most in the American League, while posting a 2.86 ERA and emerging as the team's setup man down the stretch.
Asked if all those appearances have caught up with De La Rosa, Scioscia said, "I mean, his bullpens have been great. He didn't show any signs of anything last year. But I don't know if you ever really know."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.