Three of Rodriguez's mistakes went over the wall in the Monday portion of the suspended game completed Tuesday afternoon. All three came with a man on base, accounting for six of the Reds' runs in the suspended 7-7 tie. And those were not the young season's first far-hit mistakes by Rodriguez, whose velocity has been a couple ticks off his usual 92-93 mph.
"Sixteen innings, five home runs," Hurdle said, clearly alarmed by that trend. "It's a challenging time for him, but I'm not going to run to answers right away, because I've seen three outings and his velocity is down a tick."
The Bucs have too much pitching depth in the Minors to give a struggling starter an extremely long leash. However, Rodriguez will get every chance to show what he's got in a different kind of hot zone.
"When we get to warmer weather, he might get more acute focus, which is what we're looking for," Hurdle said. "You've got a pitcher from Latin America [the Dominican Republic] pitching in April, wet and chilly."