Rodón regrets 'selfish,' 'stupid' acts of frustration

July 27th, 2022

PHOENIX -- Carlos Rodón sat at his locker quietly, visibly upset following the Giants’ most recent setback, a 7-3 loss to the D-backs on Tuesday night at Chase Field.

It wasn’t really about San Francisco’s losing streak reaching six games, though. Or even about the team falling below .500 for the first time in more than 15 months. Rodón was mad at himself for letting his anger over his performance get the best of him.

After the fifth inning, Rodón walked down the steps of the visiting dugout and kicked a bat that was leaning up against the bench. The lumber went into the air and hit the shins of infielder Thairo Estrada, who took a small backward tumble to the ground.

“Hit my teammate, probably the nicest teammate on our team,” Rodón said. “Just a selfish action that is unacceptable and cannot happen. ... I feel stupid.”

Estrada said he’s physically fine, that Rodón apologized and that the two are OK following the incident. But Estrada stated numerous times that he did not want to further discuss it, having nothing else to add.

As soon as Estrada fell, Rodón’s emotions clearly changed to those of concern, and he immediately checked on his teammate. One of the first Giants players to realize what had happened was Wilmer Flores, who came over to check on Estrada.

“Everybody knows what’s the right thing to do,” said Flores, who also did not want to further elaborate on the incident but noted that he and Rodón are “good” after the veteran infielder showed apparent confusion in the dugout by what transpired.

It wasn’t the first time that Rodón has been frustrated by a tough outing in his first season with the Giants. In fact, after the second inning of Tuesday’s game, he came into the dugout and twice swung his glove at the bench, nearly hitting a Giants staff member on his backswing.

Manager Gabe Kapler met with Rodón following the game and stressed to the left-hander that these types of actions cannot take place.

“These are his teammates, and if he’s not able to maintain control in those situations, somebody can get hurt,” Kapler said. “He knows it. We’re working on it. We’re going to work on ways for him to be in control in those situations.”

Kapler wants Rodón to channel any anger or frustration he may have into his pitching performance. The All-Star left-hander does that as a positive outlet at times, and it’s a reason why he’s one of the most dominant hurlers in the National League when at his best.

But Kapler said that some of Rodón’s actions -- such as swinging a glove or kicking a bat -- are “probably a little over the top.” And those are ones that need to be eliminated.

“When teammates and coaches are at risk, it just can’t happen,” Kapler said. “We discussed it, we’re going to work through it and we’re going to support him through it. And as I mentioned, he’s fully accountable and understands that it can’t happen.”

At the time Rodón kicked the bat, he was pitching better than he had early in the game. He retired 10 of the final 11 Arizona batters he faced, and he finished with 10 strikeouts, two walks and only three hits allowed over six innings.

However, two of those hits were home runs. Sergio Alcántara belted a two-run homer in the second, then Christian Walker swatted a tiebreaking three-run blast in the third.

It’s been rare for Rodón to get hurt by long balls over the past year. He yielded only five home runs over his first 19 starts of the season, and this was the first time he gave up more than one in a game since July 29, 2021, when he was with the White Sox.

Rodón said he “held onto the frustration” from those homers and was still upset by them several innings later.

“Angry with myself and made a selfish action and kicked a bat that had no reason to be kicked,” Rodón said. “The bat didn’t do nothing, Thairo didn’t do nothing. If anything, I should be hitting myself. Stupid.”

The Giants’ 0-6 record to open the second half hasn’t helped alleviate Rodón’s frustrations. San Francisco fell to 48-49, marking the first time it’s had a losing record since it was 2-3 on April 6, 2021. According to STATS LLC, all 29 of the other MLB teams had been below .500 during that time.

Rodón wanted to play the stopper role, and he was disappointed that didn’t happen.

“The last few starts have not gone great, and we haven’t played great,” Rodón said, “and today I wanted to come out and get a win for the boys.”