Orioles' Rodriguez exits early with back discomfort

June 2nd, 2022

The sight of Grayson Rodriguez walking off a mound with a team trainer is not something the Orioles or their fans want to see.

Baseball's No. 3 overall prospect left his 11th start of the season for Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday night after retiring the first two batters of the sixth inning on just two pitches following a meeting on the mound with manager Buck Britton and pitching coach Justin Ramsey. Rodriguez walked off the mound with the trainer.

The Orioles confirmed the right-hander departed with right lat discomfort.

The 22-year-old had breezed through the first five frames, limiting Jacksonville to a pair of hits while striking out four on 61 pitches, 50 for strikes. Rodriguez maneuvered around his only real trouble in the opening inning when he surrendered a leadoff double to Brian Miller. He needed just seven pitches to escape the frame unscathed.

No. 22 Marlins prospect Jerar Encarnacion's two-out single in the fourth was the other hit Rodriguez allowed.

Rapidly approaching his Major League debut, the 11th overall pick in the 2018 Draft has been sensational in his first go-around in the International League. Rodriguez has surrendered two or fewer runs in nine of his 11 starts, including Wednesday's abbreviated outing.

The Houston, Texas, native fanned 10 over a season-high seven scoreless frames in his last start against Gwinnett on Friday.

His 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Jumbo Shrimp lowered his ERA to 2.09 to go along with an 0.84 WHIP and 80 strikeouts in 56 innings.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound hurler finished with a 2.36 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 103 frames across 23 starts with Double-A Bowie and High-A Aberdeen in 2021. Rodriguez averaged more than 14 strikeouts per nine innings and limited opponents to a .159 average, earning him MLB Pipeline Pitching Prospect of the Year honors.