Wandy makes case to fill need for Rangers
Despite loss, pitcher pleased with first start after long layoff
ANAHEIM -- Veteran left-hander Wandy Rodriguez missed a chance to get his first win in almost two years. But he should get more chances if he can build on his first start with the Rangers.
Rodriguez, making his first Major League appearance since May 21, 2014, with the Pirates, was a bit on the messy side but still held the Angels to one run in five innings and left with a 2-1 lead. That put him in position to earn his first Major League victory since May 26, 2013, before the Angels rallied to hand the Rangers a 3-2 loss.
The Rangers haven't committed to Rodriguez pitching five days from now, but with the state of their rotation, it appears to be a certainty. His next start would be Wednesday against the Mariners.
"We'll take a look at it," manager Jeff Banister said. "He made a convincing argument."
The Rangers are looking for a fifth starter because Derek Holland, Yu Darvish, Martin Perez, Matt Harrison, Nick Tepesch and Lisalverto Bonilla are all on the disabled list. The Rangers signed Rodriguez to a Minor League contract at the end of Spring Training for Triple-A depth, after he was released by the Braves, and now find he might fill a dire need.
"I felt excited and happy," Rodriguez said. "It has been a long time since I pitched up here. I didn't feel I had a bad one. I had a good one."
Rodriguez, 36, had made 248 starts in the National League before making his first American League start Friday night. He made just six starts for the Pirates last year, going 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA. He was released on June 1 and not picked up by anyone, but went to camp with the Braves. He had a 3.13 ERA in Spring Training before being cut loose.
"I thought Wandy competed very well," Banister said. "He moved his fastball around, pitched through some traffic and gave up one run. A veteran outing, the guy hasn't been on a Major League mound in 11 months. He gave us five innings and competed very well."
Rodriguez pitched in and out of trouble through all five innings. He faced 23 batters and nine reached base on five hits, three walks and one hit batter. Four of five leadoff hitters reached base.
But Rodriguez only allowed one run. The Angels were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position off him and left seven runners on base in the first five innings. Rodriguez struck out five and threw 89 pitches.
"I made a couple mistakes to some hitters but I threw some quality pitches," Rodriguez said. "I can tell you I feel very good. I made a lot of quality pitches. I had everything I used to have."