Friday, April 29, 2016

Yomiuri Giants looking at Saltillo LHP Rodriguez

It doesn't matter where baseball is played for one axiom of the game to hold true: There is no such thing as too much good pitching.  In this case, the Yomiuri Giants are expanding their search to improve their pitching staff to Mexico, specifically Saltillo, where veteran left-hander Hector Daniel "Danny" Rodriguez is working for the Saraperos.

After going 7-3 with a 3.12 ERA in 14 regular season start for Culiacan, Rodriguez was named as BBM's Winter Playoff MVP following a strong performance in the Mexican Pacific League playoffs and two wins for the champion Mazatlan Venados at the Caribbean Series in Santo Domingo.  He also pitched Mexico to victory over Nicaragua in last month's World Baseball Classic qualifier final at Mexicali.

The 31-year-old Culiacan native had a couple of rough outings for the Saraperos to start the Mexican League season before settling down to throw seven shutout innings against Oaxaca with seven strikeouts on April 16, followed by another strong outing at Veracruz on April 22.  In that one, Rodriguez allowed just one Aguila Rojos hit with nine strikeouts in six frames, recording nine strikeout and just one walk.

Edgar Gonzalez, who managed Rodriguez in the WBC qualifier, doubles as Yomiuri's Mexican scout in addition to his role as skipper for the Mexicali Aguilas in the LMP (for whom Rodriguez pitched in the playoffs before the Aguilas lost to the Venados in the championship series).  Gonzalez was in Veracruz with other Giants reps for Danny's last start, during which he wore a splint on his right arm because of a fracture but obviously showed no worse for wear.

Although Rodriguez is pitching for Saltillo (where he's 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA after four starts), his rights still belong to the Baltimore Orioles after spending all or part of three seasons pitching for AAA Gwinnett in the Braves system (he pitched briefly for the O's AAA affiliate in Norfolk last spring before returning to Saltillo), so the Giants will have to negotiate with Baltimore if they decide to bring him to Japan.