John Rodriguez played two seasons (2005-06) in the Major Leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals, helping the Redbirds win back-to-back National League Central Division titles, as well as the 2006 World Series championship.  The veteran outfielder batted .298 with seven home runs and 43 RBI in 332 at bats during his time in the Majors.

Last season, Rodriguez hit .313 with 18 home runs and 81 RBI in just 82 games for the Atlantic League's Long Island Ducks.  A left-handed hitter and fielder, Rodriguez added 74 runs scored, 16 doubles, two triples, and walked more times (43) than he struck out (42).  Rodriguez finished the season ninth in the Atlantic League in batting average, fourth in RBI, fifth in on-base percentage (.398), third in slugging percentage (.556), and helped the Ducks compile the league's best record.  The New York, NY native hit multiple home runs four times and had 11 games with three or more RBI.  On June 9th at Lancaster, Rodriguez hit two home runs, scored six times, and collected eight RBI.

"Adding the experience and knowledge of a guy like John Rodriguez is a key element towards trying to build a championship team," said Wingnuts' manager Kevin Hooper.  John is a run producer in every sense of the word, and will hit right in the middle of our lineup.  He will be a great leader for us not only on the field, but in the clubhouse as well."

After opening the 2005 season with the Cleveland Indians' organization, Rodriguez was traded to the Cardinals in June and made his Major League debut on July 18th.  Now 34-years-old, Rodriguez hit .295 with five home runs and 24 RBI in 183 at bats during his rookie season in the Major Leagues.  The following year, Rodriguez hit .301 for St. Louis with two home runs and 19 RBI in 183 at bats.  Rodriguez' impressive resume includes base hits against notable pitchers such as Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, John Smoltz, Trevor Hoffman, Tim Hudson, Carlos Zambrano, Jake Peavy, Brad Lidge, Ben Sheets, and A.J. Burnett.

A lifetime .276 hitter in 4,772 at bats, Rodriguez is in his 16th season of professional baseball.  In addition to his time in the Majors, Rodriguez has seven years of experience at the Triple-A level, three at Double-A, and two in the Mexican League.  Rodriguez has more career base hits (1,315) than games played (1,304), and has averaged 34 doubles, 25 home runs, 97 RBI, and 73 walks per 162 contests.  The 6-foot, 220-pound Rodriguez has eclipsed 100 hits in a season six times, batted .284 or higher eight times, reached double digits in home runs 11 times, and totaled at least 50 RBI eight times.

Rodriguez originally signed with the New York Yankees' organization as a free agent in 1996, and played briefly with Hooper for the Triple-A International League's Columbus Clippers in 2004.

In separate move, the Wingnuts sold the contract of right-handed pitcher Junior Guerra to the Marineros de Esenda of the Mexican League North.

The Wingnuts now have 23 players under contract for the 2012 season.  American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during Spring Training, which begins May 5th.

2012 Wingnuts Signings
RHP Derek Blacksher
RHP Josh Dew
IF Steve Carrillo
OF Mitch Einertson
C Angel Flores
C Taylor Freeman
IF Cody Fuqua
LHP Ryan Hinson
LHP Shawn Joy
2B Jake Kahaulelio
SS Ryan Khoury
RHP Josh Lowey
RHP Brandon Mathes
3B Jared McDonald
LHP Moises Melendez
RHP Derrick Miramontes
RHP Matt Nevarez
C Eric Rodriguez
OF John Rodriguez
RHP Jared Simon
LHP Nick Walters
OF Josh Workman
1B C.J. Ziegler

The 2012 season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins May 17th versus the Lincoln Saltdogs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.