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Pudge: Son's quick success a 'giant surprise'

Special to MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Dereck Rodriguez will look to extend his strong recent run when he starts for the Giants against the World Series champion Astros on Monday, and at least one Hall of Fame catcher has been impressed ... and maybe even a little taken aback, at least early.

"He's a giant surprise, to be honest with you, the way he has been pitching and the way he takes every start, the way he looks every start," Rodriguez's father, Ivan, said this week.

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PHOENIX -- Dereck Rodriguez will look to extend his strong recent run when he starts for the Giants against the World Series champion Astros on Monday, and at least one Hall of Fame catcher has been impressed ... and maybe even a little taken aback, at least early.

"He's a giant surprise, to be honest with you, the way he has been pitching and the way he takes every start, the way he looks every start," Rodriguez's father, Ivan, said this week.

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"Every time he pitches, more and more, he looks better. He's feeling better and doing great."

Dereck Rodriguez, who will oppose right-hander Charlie Morton on Monday, has made six straight quality starts and also had a scoreless three-inning relief appearance. He is 3-0 with a 1.49 ERA in that stretch, with 32 strikeouts and 12 walks in 42 1/3 innings. Opponents have hit .177 against him.

Rodriguez has walked as many as three batters only twice in 12 appearances, and his strike percentage is 64 percent.

It is the kind of control and command a catcher holds dear.

"He has a good idea of how to get people out," said Ivan Rodriguez, who has seen his son pitch four times in person and talks to him frequently.

"Throw strikes, that's it. Strike one. He throws a lot of strikes. If you see the amount of pitches he throws per start, he's about 100-111. And out of those, over 60 strikes. When you throw strikes, you are going to get a lot of guys out."

Dereck Rodriguez was promoted in late May after the Giants' rotation suffered injuries. He takes his father's words to heart.

"He's a catcher, so he knows what I need to do to succeed up here," Rodriguez said. "Throwing strikes, getting ahead of hitters, quick outs. You are ahead in the count, it puts the hitter in a pretty bad spot."

Like parents everywhere, Ivan Rodriguez admitted watching his child perform is a lot more difficult than actually being part of the competition.

"In the beginning, the first couple, yeah, I was nervous," he said, "but the other day I went to see him, I was more relaxed. He was doing great.

"The thing that I saw was, all the starts he had were with [Buster] Posey behind the plate. This was one with [Nick Hundley], and he still did a great job. So his mindset is pretty good."

Buster's back
After missing Saturday's game while being observed for concussion symptoms, Posey was back in the lineup at first base Sunday. He was forced to leave Friday's game after taking a foul tip off his mask.

Posey could get back behind the plate Monday, manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday, adding, "We'll see how he gets through the game today.

"He feels no effects from that. He's fine, and that's why he's playing. If there were anything going on, anything, he wouldn't play today. My guess is he should be fine to catch tomorrow."

Worth noting
The Giants, who are off Wednesday, are considering using Thursday as a "bullpen day," Bochy indicated Sunday, depending on how the bullpen is used against Houston in the next two days behind Rodriguez and Tuesday starter Madison Bumgarner.

Andrew Suarez could take the turn on regular rest after starting in Arizona on Saturday, but the Giants have been inclined to give their starters an extra day of rest when the schedule permits. Jeff Samardzija is closer to returning, but no schedule has been set.

• Bochy became a grandfather for the second time when son Brett's wife, Lesley, gave birth to Blakely Grace on Saturday. It is Bochy's first granddaughter.

Tweet from @BruceBochy: Excited to welcome my second grand baby, Blakely Grace. Congrats Brett and Kelsey! pic.twitter.com/k2GZ35Yaby

Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.

San Francisco Giants, Buster Posey, Dereck Rodriguez