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What Impact Will Wandy Rodriguez Have for 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates?

February 14th, 2014 at 7:45 PM
By Allan Smith

'McKechnie Field' photo (c) 2010, WEBN-TV - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

One of the biggest question marks heading into spring training and, eventually, the regular season, is how will Wandy Rodriguez perform after coming back from a forearm tendon strain that limited him to only 12 starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013. Rodriguez actually led the National League with 33 starts the year prior pitching for the Houston Astros and the Pirates, and with A.J. Burnett now gone, the Pirates need a veteran to step up and eat some of the innings he had covered.

Dr. James Andrews, the three worst words a pitcher can hear or read, determined Rodriguez to have arthritis in his arm after an evaluation late last year, and rest was the only prescription.

The Pirates are paying $7.5 million of Rodriguez's $13 million salary for him to fit in as their number four pitcher. Based on his numbers during his time in Pittsburgh, there is no reason to believe a healthy Rodriguez won't be able to overmatch another team's third, fourth or fifth starter. Since coming over from the Astros in July of 2012, Rodriguez has pitched in 25 games with the Pirates, 24 of which were starts. He went 11-8 with a 3.66 ERA in 137.2 innings with a respectable 1.199 WHIP. If you take away Rodriguez's awful start against the Milwaukee Brewers at the end of April, as well as his injured start against the Atlanta Braves in June, and Rodriguez actually had a 2.63 ERA over the rest of his starts, including an extremely impressive start to April that saw him enter the final week of the month with a 1.66 ERA.

Rodriguez threw a 28-pitch set to catcher Tony Sanchez on Friday, according to Tom Singer of Pirates.com. The Dominican pitcher will be on a much lighter throwing regiment than his Pirates' peers.

"After my bullpen, I felt nothing. So I feel very good," Rodriguez said shortly after coming off the mound.

If Wandy can continue feeling good, the Pirates will have a serious advantage out of the four spot in their rotation.

 

Tags: Baseball, MLB, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Pirates, Wandy Rodriguez

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