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De La Rosa looking for better pitch mix

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After looking unhittable in his first two outings of the Grapefruit League season, prospect Rubby De La Rosa struggled in Wednesday's game against the Pirates, giving up three hits and three runs over two innings.

One thing that manager John Farrell wants De La Rosa to focus on is a better pitch mix.

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Farrell and pitching coach Juan Nieves have been trying to emphasize to De La Rosa that he's a power pitcher. In other words, they felt he was worrying too much about working in his offspeed pitches. But on Wednesday, De La Rosa took it a little too far, coming out of the gate with 11 straight fastballs.

"It was the intent to go in yesterday establishing and using his fastball a little more readily, and yet he and [catcher] Christian [Vazquez] ended up throwing -- the first 11 pitches were fastballs," said Farrell. "The overall command to his fastball is still a work in progress. We want to be clear that we're not taking his secondary pitches away. It's just a different distribution of the type of pitches thrown."

Farrell remains very high on the De La Rosa and Allen Webster, who was the other pitcher that came back in the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers.

"You hear guys' names and you don't know to what extent their talents are, but considering the deal and seeing the two arms that were brought back, it makes the trade even, in the long run, that much more advantageous," Farrell said. "Let's face it, we gave up some really talented players. We recognize that. Given where [general manager] Ben [Cherington] and others thought where we needed to go … to have that come back and be able to move that amount of money, it's a hell of a deal."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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