Paco Rodriguez. Name ring any bells? Was a left-handed relief monster for the first five months of 2013? Had a 1.91 ERA and a .140 opponent batting average?
He was only 22 years old, his future bright as a supernova.
But then came a disastrous September (5.68 ERA, .308 opponent batting average), his young arm overworked. He made the team again last spring, but after a rough start was quickly sent back down. When he was called back up in August, he appeared in one game before suffering the same shoulder injury that had sidelined Clayton Kershaw at the beginning of the season and was done for the year.
So this spring starts and there is very little Paco Rodriguez buzz, which is something he apparently would like to rectify.
Rodriguez appeared in one inning Tuesday during the Dodgers’ daily tie game -- this one 2-2 affair at Camelback Ranch against the Rockies -- but he made it noteworthy.
Rodriguez struck out the only three batters he faced. And on the minimum nine pitches. Somebody wants back in the bullpen conversation. The Dodgers’ bullpen is something of a crazy mess right now, but no doubt they would like to add a second left-hander to complement J.P. Howell.
Kershaw started the game and went three innings, allowing a solo home run to Nick Hundley in the third. He gave up three hits, a walk and struck out two.
The Dodgers also got two strong innings from Joe Wieland, the young right-hander acquired from the Padres who his trying to get in front of the line for that starter in-waiting role. He threw two perfect innings, striking out one.
Offensively, Andre Ethier singled in one run and then the Dodgers’ early run of strong play from their youngsters continued when outfielder Scott Schebler hit a solo home run to tie it in the eighth. Alex Guerrero, who has also been hot, started at third but had a throwing error.
It was the Dodgers' third tie in their last four spring games.
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